- Published on Friday, 12 April 2013 14:27
- Written by Donna Mazzitelli
I received a card from a young friend recently, thanking me for being in his life and for the support I've offered him. It touched me more than the gift that accompanied the card. One of his lines started with, "i know i forget to say thank you...". And yes, he does refer to himself in the lowercase!
His card made me think of all the missed opportunities in my own life to share my thoughts, feelings, and even wisdom with others. I can get so caught up in the day-to-day, morning-to-night rhythm and routine that I don't sometimes see those moments when I could pause and go deeper with another human being. Whether it's one of my daughters who pops in my room and says, "Mom!" or my mother calling me on the phone to say hi, there are lots and lots of times when I could just take a few extra moments to express my love and gratitude to someone significant.
I had to learn from the young age of 10 to live with regret and overcome guilt because the last words I spoke to my uncle were words of anger. He died less than a month after that encounter. I've tried to remember what happened with him and make sure that I don't leave conversations unresolved. It's not always possible, but I do the best I can. I realize that it goes beyond angry conversations though. Taking the time to express how much someone means to me or the ways in which they've touched my life is an invaluable gift to another human being. What if that were the last conversation someone heard?
As my young friend did, using written words to express how we feel and how much we appreciate others is a great practice to implement. I am currently editing a book for a woman who is fast becoming someone special in my life. She writes about how in her professional life, she sends out five handwritten notes EACH DAY, and I'm sure she does it frequently in her personal life too. I know she sends out about 1,500 handwritten Christmas cards each year. She's reminded me of the importance of that personal touch. Being in my 50s, I grew up writing thank you notes, pen pal letters and notes to faraway friends and relatives. But in our technological lifestyle, I admit that I've gotten more and more comfortable with the quick email and the even faster text or instant message. Yet, they all fall short of that personal expression.
As a result of her "gentle reminder," I've recently made a commitment to myself that I will send out handwritten notes on a regular basis--at least one a day to someone special. Whether it's a client whose project was just completed, or someone who referred another person to me, or my relatives and friends, I plan to send a quick note to tell them how much they mean to me and WHY. That "why" seems important, because sometimes our perspectives about ourselves can change as a result of hearing someone else share the impact we've made in their life.
As we near the time for high school and college graduations, Mother's Day and Father's Day, it's a perfect time to intentionally express our gratitude to those we love. We might share a bit of wisdom we've learned from them so they can see just how significant they've been to us or pass on the wisdom we've learned to our children. We might even tell our children what we've learned from them. In my own life, that would definitely apply. Although I believe I have wisdom to share with my children, I know I learn as much from them as they learn from me--maybe even more.
Who might you share your gratitude and wisdom with? If you live in the Denver area, Jan Haas and I are holding a workshop entitled "Giving the Gift of Worded Wisdom." It will take place on Friday, April 26th from 6:30 to 9PM. Please click HERE to learn more and sign up now.