Between my work over the years, and being uber-extroverted, I meet and talk with a lot of people. Although I am certainly “quite the talker,” I also listen and observe more than people often think I do.
I have been told that I have a knack of “drawing people out of themselves,” though I think that is what happens when we learn to be more effective communicators. Of course, there are many times that I have just as many communication issues in those relationships closest to me, as others do. After all, each of us has our history with which to deal.
I often hear in my interactions with students, clients, and others I meet who share along the way, that they feel under- or unappreciated. I have felt that way myself. It seems to run the gamut of personal and work relationships. Family, coworkers, friendships…the lament seems to be the same. It seems to be universal.
“I am tired of being taken for granted!”
It is easy to pull away when feeling the most vulnerable. It is one way that feels like protection from feeling more hurt. The results can lead to lashing out in anger and words being thrown like daggers. It takes awhile to recover from those wounds, especially when weeks, months, or years pass without resolve.
Every once in awhile, when least expected, someone will have an impact in a way that seems unimaginable. An acquaintance will share genuine words of encouragement, love, and support, singing praises of appreciation or adoration.
These are the times that I am left (nearly) speechless. I find it difficult to process in those moments that I may be anything other than the (fill-in-the-blank) that others have declared I am. It challenges, not only the view I think others have of me but, the view I have of myself.
I wonder what might happen if, in our dealings with all people, we were to look at others through new lenses and see what we liked about them.
If we were to appreciate others, would we be more appreciated? What if we were all to share more often what we appreciated about others?
Not obligatory words in order to assuage a sense of guilt or feeling “beholden to.” Not to manipulate or pander to others, looking for acknowledgement of the gift of kind words finally bestowed upon them. Not just once. But often simply letting others know what they mean to us and why?
Would this make a difference in the relationships we already have? Would it make a difference in someone’s life? Would we bridge gaps? Would we build new friendships?
Today, I consciously make the decision to make a difference by letting someone know what I appreciate about them.