I think we all want to hear verbal validation, right? We like to hear that someone thinks we've done a good job at something. I know I do. My family of origin isn't too terrible proficient in the verbal affirmation department. That's not to say they we don't love each other and aren't proud of each other and the things we've accomplished, it's just that we never really said the nice words out loud.
I married a man with similar leanings. He's a man of few words, and believes actions speak louder than words. I believe that too, to an extent. I would rather receive genuine actions than hollow words any day. However, I sometimes need to hear the words. At times, I crave them, and when they are given, I soak them in as if they were my life's blood.
This words of affirmation subject -- how often do I take the time to verbally encourage someone? What a hypocrite, I am. I want others to tell me how great I am, and yet I don't take the time to do the same for others. Now, let me just say this -- It's not that I don't think others are great. I often have compliments to others pop into my head, but I don't speak them out loud.
Why is that? Am I conditioned from years of growing up in a home where we usually didn't wax poetic about the accomplishments of those around us? And, after 19 years of marriage to a man with the same way of being have I reinforced that conditioning to the point where it just doesn't occur to me to speak words of affirmation to others? I tell myself -- It's not in my wheelhouse, I'm an acts of service person. That doesn't absolve me of the service of affirming others.
Let me say this, lest you think I'm a clod who never says anything nice to anyone, I've always found it rather easy to verbally affirm my children. Well, they are wonderful people, so it's not that hard! Most of the time. Truth be told, now that they are teens, the praise probably comes less often because, that's the nature of teenagers, they are less motivated to please their parents and I feel the affirming words have to be genuine. If the praise doesn't ring true, I believe the recipient feels that, and it only degrades the relationship and causes us to be wary of compliments coming from that person. Empty words, no matter how flowery are still just empty words.
As you know, this series of articles is about change, setting goals and making life better, not only for myself, but also for those in my bubble. So, to that end, I am setting a goal to speak up when compliments come to my mind. And, not only that, but, I'm also going to go back and thank some people who have been instrumental in my life in a positive way, but I never told them so at the time. If I feel it, they need to hear it.
Oh, I like that - that's going to be my mantra from now on - If I feel it, they need to hear it. In the positive sense I mean. Trust me, no one want to hear everything I feel! I'm not going to just go around saying everything that pops into my head. The most loved phrase my mom said to me growing up was - You don't have to tell everything you know. So much meaning and wisdom in that statement, and I can can substitute the word feel for the word know and get even more mileage out of that pearl of wisdom. I love it. And I love her for saying it to me
Today, my take away from that statement is this-- I don't have need to be effusive for effusiveness sake, but I should tell people when they do something that genuinely wows me; or when they touch me with their actions. I think it will be a case of "'Tis more blessed to give than to receive." because I have a feeling it will bless me so much more than it will the recipients of my words.