“There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation than for bread.”
As many of you may know, and for those of you who don’t, last Monday was the Memorial Day of my brother – Nimrod. He was killed in battle at the age of 28, while on reserve duty as a Sergeant Major. My only brother, Nimrod, was an amazing man. I still miss him each and every day. So I dedicate this post to him.
Today’s lesson is how to appreciate the people around you in your daily life.
It had been seven years already since I had seen my brother on my last visit to Israel – while hopping from one country to another performing my shows – but his memory still burns brightly in my mind. He had an electrifying look with an old wise soul and his presence in my life showed me the way so many times. He knew everything there is to know about me. My deepest secrets, my worst nightmares, my biggest passions. Everything.
Then I heard horrible news via a message I received on Facebook of all (impersonal) places. The message was about a close high school friend who had tragically died in a car crash. It had been nearly ten years since I had seen her at a graduation party and I never saw her since. She was such a free spirit and many times caused me to burst out into a loud laughter. While reading through a police report about the last moments of her life, memories flooded my mind without control and I found myself weighed down by her significance during quite a few years in my life.
- Where had all those beautiful moments gone?
- Why had I allowed them to collect dust?
- More importantly, why hadn’t I tried to contact her in the past ten years while in my 20’s?
She was someone I admired and loved and grown up with. She was someone who had spent hours waxing philosophical about what type of people we would (with any luck) grow up to be. She was someone who could raise my soul whenever I was feeling down, and with a clownish expression make doom and gloom instantly dissolve. And now she was someone who was gone. I never thanked her the way she deserved or told her what she meant to me. Why do we do that?
It was then I recognized how quickly life goes by and sometimes, when you least expect it; it can be cut short without warning or just cause. When we lose someone we love suddenly, or even at times after a long illness, we’re often left with feelings of guilt and/or regret.
As opposed to dealing with helpless feelings like this – what if there were another way?
Wouldn’t it be better if we could take action NOW to ensure we were appreciating those we love on a day-to-day basis? It surely would and I’m going to share with you HOW.
The reason to live a life rich in appreciation is not only to avoid feelings of guilt and regret when it’s too late, but more importantly to live a life we can be proud of. We should feel good about treating people with kindness, and by letting them know their true value to us. It also opens others up to do the same. By showing our tender underbellies, others feel that they can do it too.
So what are some ways we can bring more appreciation into our relationships? Let’s take a closer look:
Everyone has someone in their life that makes them feel good about themselves whenever they are around them.
Take a moment to think about who that person is in your life. Maybe you're lucky and there's more than one. Do they possess some kind of super powers? The answer is both YES and no, because it is a super power we all have access to if we choose to!
What do these “feel good” people do to make us feel so loved and appreciated?
Perhaps it is just their natural positive attitude and infectious smile they bring everywhere they go. Perhaps it’s their excitement and enthusiasm to simply spend time with you. Perhaps it’s that they are fully present with you and are truly curious about what’s going on with you and your life. Perhaps they remember things that you’ve told them in the past, your family, your birthday. Perhaps they put in the effort to keep communication going even when they are busy with their own life and so on.
Every one of us has someone like this in their life– they are a true pleasure to be around and to call a friend.
That means that you have to be a lot less concentrated in your own self. It seems that today everyone is their own celebrity with their Facebook Page, their Twitter Account, their blog, their public sharing of both failures and successes.
So quite simply, learn to take a genuine interest in THEM, in your friends. One of my all-time favorite quotes by the American Actor, Marlon Brando is, “An actor’s a guy who if you ain’t talking about him, ain’t listening.” This is the opposite of bringing appreciation into our daily lives. In our modern world we are so concerned with ourselves most of the time that we have lost our ability to listen. We are always waiting to talk and share our own thoughts and doings. So listening is something you can do to show someone you care to hear their thoughts, what they are struggling with and what they are excited about. Take an interest in them. Listen.
Another thing we can do is praise NOW.
Don’t hesitate to share with those you love what they bring to your life. Many times we feel too vulnerable to express our feelings as we are unsure how it would be received. But the important thing is that you are true to your feeling and express it. You never know the impact that truth can have on your relationship. I promise you, you will be surprised how someone will react to a genuine and honest compliment. That is a gift they can carry with them long after any physical present. Learn to pay genuine compliments. Think of how someone is meaningful to you and speak it up!
Perhaps these concepts seem overly saccharine to you, but the truth is – they work!
I assure you nothing bad can happen!
You spread a little more sunshine into the lives of those you love; you feel an extra skip in your step because of all the wonderful people you're blessed with. Taking time to appreciate those who are there for you, who enhance your life while they are still here is a meaningful legacy you can leave behind and infect others with.
This is your time to do it – while there’s still time!
Share your own story bellow in the comment section, I'm sure others would love to read about it and learn from your own experience.