“If you don’t do it, you’ll never know what would have happened if you had done it.” — Ashleigh Brilliant.
New Year’s Resolution No. 1! Make it a point to regularly say more appreciative and encouraging things to others.
Sometimes I get emails from people who enjoy my columns or I see someone around town or at the San Bruno Senior Center who compliments them. The thoughtful (and, of course, astute) people who make my day in this way can turn a lousy day into a good day or enhance a good day into a great day. At any rate, such feedback is always welcome and I always wonder if people who have done that realize how much a few nice and appreciative words can improve another person’s outlook and boost the self-esteem. No doubt they know it and that’s why they do it. The good they do reaches all the way down to the core. We become not only emotionally charged, but we enjoy greater mental, spiritual and physical well-being as well. We’ll be kinder to ourselves and those around us because we’ll be more inclined to act positively with others. And so the snowball keeps rolling.
Some people naturally take the time and make the effort to make another person’s day by saying something sincerely appreciative and/or complimentary. Whether it’s a note from a friend who tells you she had a great time at your house the other evening, or a parent saying to a child, “I’m so glad you’re mine,” or your spouse who expresses appreciation for the “millionth” dinner you have prepared for both of you, or even the driver of the car who waves a smiling “go ahead and turn left in front of me.” All, each in its own way, can make life richer and much more pleasant.
How good it feels when visitors who come to my home exclaim over the beauty of the bank of impatiens that I have tended so faithfully right outside the patio door. And how I beam when one of the young grandchildren draws a beautiful picture and writes below it: “I love you, Grandma and Grandpa.” And I’m always glad to see the smile on the face of the clerk at the bookstore I frequent who has helped me find what I’m looking for when I thank her/him profusely.
How much more a holiday card means when the sender pens a note telling you how your friendship has meant so much to her. Makes me think of the time I sent an email to the author of an article I totally agreed with but which I knew would generate negative comments from many readers. In return, she told me how much she appreciated my positive response — especially on that particular day it arrived — because the writer of the email she had read just before mine had been very critical. My note had done more good than I even imagined.
As an important part of my resolution, I must profusely thank Jon, the intrepid editor in chief of this newspaper, for putting up with me for these past five years, and tell him in print that I’ve appreciated his patience greatly. Seems I may have emulated Ashleigh Brilliant when he quipped “I always think of the right thing to say after the right time to say it has passed.”
New Year’s Day (or shortly thereafter) is a great time to resolve to say many appreciative and/or complimentary things each day to those who are part of our lives. But remember, kind words are good only if they are sincere, come from the heart and are not intended (consciously or unconsciously) to get something in return except the natural byproduct of goodwill. Sincere, kind words are an indication that those saying them are secure enough in themselves to be able to reach out to others and that these people possess a warmth that radiates from the heart. Those who are not used to doing this, at first may have to force themselves to notice things that can be complimented. Then they may have to consciously think of how to say something nice without sounding insincere or condescending. But working on this is rewarding, and soon it will come naturally.
A provocative thought by Piero Ferucci comes to mind. “Ultimately, it is all very simple. There is no choice between being kind to others and being kind to ourselves. It’s the same thing.” — “The Power of Kindness.”
Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 700 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.