Everyone on this planet needs to be affirmed and acknowledged for the things they do that leave a positive impact. Often, we note an act of kindness and generosity, but we seldom extend the praise in real time. I’ve noticed we have a much easier time allowing complaints to take precedence in our daily lives. The negative feedback and criticism finds its way to the tips of our tongues and we share the poison like an infectious plague. During the last week, how many times have you gone out of your way to offer a compliment or acknowledge a stranger or a loved one for something positive? How about speaking to a manager about stellar service you received at a restaurant or a bar? When was the last time someone affirmed and acknowledged you?
Self-love is the key to living a happy life. Acknowledgement and affirmations are also critical to someone’s wellbeing. We cannot assume someone knows how we feel about them. It’s not a given that a person knows the powerful ways in which they may have positively impacted our lives. I often read obituaries and look at the comments people leave for the deceased, and it’s usually some of the most touching words you could read about a person. When someone has passed, there is an outpouring of acknowledgments, but often there was not that level of recognition while they were alive. Taking the time to express gratitude, appreciation, and a heartfelt thanks could truly brighten someone’s life. Deeper than brightening their life, it could offer some support when they needed it most.
Some people have the hardest time accepting compliments and being acknowledged. Those people haven’t gotten comfortable with praise just yet because it’s something we rarely do as a society. There’s this huge emphasis on playing it cool and not letting someone know how you really feel. There are these rules that tell us when to call, how long it should take to engage with someone, and other societal “norms” that actually isolate us further. We have become so obsessed with playing it cool and not wanting to appear desperate that we edit our true thoughts and come across as detached and lukewarm. In our hearts we could be completely enamored and wowed by someone’s ways of being, but we won’t tell them because we don’t want to appear needy. However, sharing with someone the things you enjoy about them is natural, encouraged, and should become a regular practice.
Usually, when someone is lying awake at night tossing and turning, they are replaying various events in their lives. More often that not, these are the moments that haunt them and make their hearts heavy. Those moments are the ones that echo loudly in our souls and leave permanent marks from all the times they’ve been replayed in our brains. What if that cycle could be interrupted by seeds of affirmation and acknowledgement that you planted? What if, in those moments of grief, frustration, and self-loathing, they could recall a time when you made the space to share a positive affirmation about them? A recognition of someone’s ways of impacting you could solidly change the trajectory of their life. We all have this loud naysayer in our minds, reminding us of every mistake we have ever made. None of us need another person to add to that level of destruction. We can all benefit from some positive reinforcement though.
I encourage you to offer an affirmation and acknowledgement to three people today. Take the time to be present, observe, and offer your kind words to a stranger, a loved one and yourself. Take the time today to seek out positivity, silver linings and bright smiles. Go out of your way to make someone’s life better today and watch how your mood improves. World peace is a lofty goal, and who knows if we could ever achieve that. However, peace in your heart, your immediate environment and in your community can begin with you. Being kind and sharing affirmation and acknowledgement is the access to connection and building bridges. We have enough isolation and barriers for keeping people out. Be an example of love and connection today. I dare you.