It’s obvious that sometimes it’s difficult to convey our true feelings to one another. Words are misconstrued; actions are hard to take; emotions can become jumbled. And then there are moments when we slip out of one shoe into the other wondering, “Why?”
“Why was I not appreciated? Why am I not cared for? Why am I not considered? Why?”
We can go to extremes with our emotions when we don’t hear what we want to from another party, and then — just as quickly — we’re at a loss as to why there are hurt feelings, cold shoulders and tears from the other party. What did you do wrong? Back in the other shoe.
It’s a universal understanding that, as human beings and innate caretakers, we all just want to be loved, appreciated and remembered by those we love, appreciate and remember. So, the question is: why is this so hard to do, and is there a simple solution to remedy the miscommunication? Yes, and there are three simple steps.
1. Thank You
Maya Angelou once said, “There’s nothing greater than a ‘Thank you’,” and the action is as simple as her words. We do things for one another everyday, whether it’s opening a door or making breakfast, donating a kidney or providing customer service. We survive by depending on one another, and the ship that is our civilization wouldn’t sail if it wasn’t for each person doing his part for someone or another.
Showing gratitude and appreciation is really as simple as voicing the two simple words that are, “thank you.” No matter how tiny or grand the gesture, everyone wants to know that someone recognized the effort that was made. And truthfully, not one person has escaped the tiny pang of heartache that comes with not being appreciated. Those two words hold a lot of power, both said and received.
2. I’m Sorry
Another two words that seem hard to say when other emotions get in the way: pride, stubbornness, oblivion, inconsideration and the list goes on. To hurt a person is rather easy even if you’re not intending on it. Again, the folly doesn’t need to be extravagant to cause a scratch, but lacking remorse or even refusing to extend the olive branch during a headlock can cause more damage than necessary.
Just being able to recognize when you’ve just messed up — even if by accident and offering up two little words in consideration can make a world of difference for the other party. Haven’t you been there? Haven’t your hurt feelings or nagging annoyance turned into anger and bitterness at least once when you just didn’t hear someone say, “I’m sorry”? Of course they have — we’re all only human, and we just want to know someone cares. So, maybe next time you’re mean or make a mistake — whatever it is, let go of that ego, put yourself in the other shoe and just try saying you’re sorry.
3. How Are You?
It’s amazing that we ask each other, “What’s up?” or “What have you been up to?” and other mindless conversation starters, but it’s a rarity to inquire about a person’s well-being. No, of course no one wants to hear about gross health problems or the annoying co-worker at work in exhaustive detail (unless you’re close), but it’s a nice change to be asked about how you are doing as opposed to “what’s new?” Perhaps it seems just as impersonal and superficial as the other questions to some, but it’s undeniably a more considerate question.
If you’re feeling extra nice, throw in a specific question about how family is, work, kids, health, school, etc. It’s a small gesture that shows someone that you care and remember them — even just a bit! Think about the last time someone asked you how you were as opposed to “what was up” — it makes even the smallest of difference.
Just imagine if you could incorporate these three phrases into your daily life just a bit more. Considering they tend to work off one another in some ways, you could make a big difference in someone’s day without even knowing it. Don’t you know, small gestures are sometimes the grandest of them all?
- 10 Quotes That Have Given Me Perspective On Life (So Far…)
- A Simple Thank You Would Be Nice (lezgetreal.com)
- A Meditation on Forgiveness (momentsofexhilaration.com)
- 5 Strategies for Self-Compassion (psychcentral.com)