Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Expressing appreciation

"Everyone wants to be appreciated, so if you appreciate
someone, don’t keep it a secret." ~M. K. Ash

A few days ago my mom told me that she has always thought of me as a happy person. This statement really stood out to me for two reasons. First of all, I haven’t seen myself as the most positive person lately and was beginning to wonder if I’ve always been this way. Hearing her words helped me remember that I am happy by nature and gave me hope that I can be that way again. The second reason her comment meant so much was because she doesn’t typically offer encouraging words like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom and have no doubt that she loves me. I remember the flood of emotions I felt when I read a paragraph she wrote about me in my application to Ricks College. She talked about attending one of my volleyball games and being impressed when I was the only one on my team who didn’t participate in a somewhat crude cheer. I didn’t even realize she had been watching me and felt so happy to learn I was acceptable in her eyes. Moments like that weren’t common in my family though. Most of us have a difficult time verbalizing our feelings toward each other.

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly aware of my inability to express myself to those I love. Sometimes I feel like I’m emotionally stunted. I was especially aware of this in my last relationship. No matter how much I wanted to, I found it impossible to adequately express myself to the guy I was dating. I sometimes practiced conversations in my head so I could tell him what I appreciated about him and let him know how much I cared. When the opportunity came for us to talk, I blushed and stuttered and really struggled to get the words out. It made me feel like an idiotic school girl, so I just kept my thoughts to myself most of the time. I’m sad to think of all the opportunities I missed to point out his good qualities and thank him for the little things he said or did to make me smile.

This is something I want to change about myself. I’ve been making it a point lately to tell my friends exactly what I appreciate about them. I’ll be honest; it’s been a real struggle for me. Sometimes I’m only able to do it via text messages or e-mail, but I guess that’s a start. Over time, I hope to turn this weakness into one of my greatest strengths. People need to know that they are loved and valued. They need to be reminded of their redeeming qualities. They need to know they are accepted, regardless of the mistakes they’ve made (or will make). They need to feel safe in sharing their hopes and dreams, without fear of rejection or misunderstanding. I hope to feel that sense of safety in my next relationship. In order to feel that, though, I realize I need to first share more of myself. I’m a work in progress.


Stillman and Michelle said...

Baaahaaahahaa I remember those cheers. I also remember that at least one of them was my idea. I don't remember if the crudest one was my idea, I am hoping not. It took me a couple of years to learn all that I had promised to be when I was baptized at 13.

Chow said...

I'm a work in progress too! And you've always made me feel loved/appreciated!

Keep it up!

But don't say too many nice things to Hil. I hear she has a big head already. ; )