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Show your appreciation
You know how it is, you wish for a miracle, and like buses, they come along in threes.
So it was that the clouds parted and a ray of divine light pinged onto my earthly being via an unexpected email. Then two more arrived in subsequent weeks.
They came out of the blue from a newsletter subscriber who wanted to say how my missive had really hit the nail on the head; she appreciated the tips. The comments were thoughtful and welcome.
Miracle? It felt like it. I’ve been a coach for nigh on 18 years and a journalist for over 30 and you plug away, write into the void never expecting thumbs up’s -often not knowing if a, anybody is out there b, do they dig what you are saying anyway?
Then another email came in from a subscriber following on from same newsletter saying she has promised herself to train with me next year and become a coach. Nice.
Sunday saw another bit of appreciation in the inbox.
Thing is I’m quite Zen when it comes to feedback. I learned this writing for a column for a national newspaper for 7 years, 52 weeks a year about happiness.
The amount of feedback every week when I filed my copy over to the HQ was, wait for it, a howling zero, a vacuum of nothingness, a howling gale of nought.
Of course, my dear readers sent me beautiful handwritten letters, many of which I still treasure, but from the editor, features editor and sub editors it was a zilch that ran into minus figures. Head down move on.
But life is like that for many of us. Not just us writers or coaches putting shoulder to keyboard in the hope of some spark of connection – but any of us toiling away as parents, carers, relationship rescuers, put-upon pals, the tired employed, the anxious self employed or brave but terrified new business owners.
We do what we do without expectation of approval or recognition.
Show your appreciation: Being positive-devoid is the easy bit.
Maybe shrinks or those in white coats will know that we are mostly negatively biased and so saying what we don’t like is easy and praise, positivity or generous feedback might feel like some kind of relinquishing of our personal power.
One of my oldest friends suffers “praise parsimony” and can only bring herself to say “I like that – where did you get it?” as if saying anyone looked nice was somehow diminishing of herself.
How little it costs to champion, compliment or be generous with appreciation. Human beings, no matter now rigid their upper lip or strong of spine are yearning for connection and acknowledgment that they matter, that they, in fact, exist at all to the rest of us.
The Saddest Realisation
For the ceremony, to be read out, she sent over kind, loving and devastatingly sad words about her mother that, had they been heard by the deceased while alive, would have brought untold joy and peace in her final years.
To me this was the truly sad moment of the day. The regrets, the misplaced timing for kindness and appreciation, the poor choice of behaviour in life that only in death could be voiced, realised and bitterly regretted.
Show your appreciation – Give Gratitude Generously
If you think your comments or positive thoughts don’t count then get over your self-esteem and give freely. If you feel uncomfortable offering compliments then know this weird inverse trick of the soul – the more you give away the more you gain.
Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment”.
Give some away today – could last someone an eternity.
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