Like I said before, I miss lots of things about him, but I really miss feeling cherished. It sounds selfish and more than a little childish, I know. I'm grateful to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family. My grown daughter is my best friend, and my husband is literally the most amazing man I have ever met. I'm not hosting a pity party ... Just wondering: What makes people feel cherished? Can I make others feel cherished? Is it something you can work on? Can you improve your ability to cherish?
You didn't just meet me. You know I'm going to try.
Where to start? Every time I walked into my parents' house, my dad complimented something. "Oh your hair looks so nice today! Is that a new top? Wow, those boots are really snazzy!" Many times a day, I have those same thoughts about people. Her nails are pretty. I like that shirt. What a cute outfit. So that's a good place to start: Never pass up the opportunity to say something kind. Compliment people every chance you get.
That said, I'm ashamed to admit that too often I do better at this with strangers and acquaintances than I do with my own people. So, step two seems to be: Treat strangers like friends and family like strangers. Go out of my way to say kind things to my family too. Mix a few niceties in with the: Stop arguing, clean up your mess, put your water bottles in the recycling bin, and more.
When I thought about it, I could not remember the last time I told Peyton how great he was doing in his college classes. At 16. And when was the last time I told Lily how perfect her curls were or how hard she works at gymnastics? Some days I say nicer things to the dog than I do to my kids. Guess what they won't miss...
That guided me to the next logical step: Pay Attention. Look past the daily nonsense and focus on the blessings. Yes, Lily has stripped most of the finish off the kitchen table making slime, but she is hanging out with me in the kitchen doing something creative. Peyton has 42 empty water bottles on his floor, but at 16, he is usually home, in his room, drinking water. It's easier to be overwhelmingly grateful for Chloe, who is being her fabulous little self and not making a mess in my house every day.
And finally...cast a wide net. Since I'm basically a hermit, the only people I regularly interact with in person are my husband and kids, but I "see" lots of people on social media every day. It's so simple to like a picture or make a nice comment. Why wouldn't we do that?
The thing about spreading kindness is it's addictive. It feels good to make other people feel good. I think and write and talk so much about female relationships. Mommy wars, and mother-daughter feuds, and mean girls. I can't grasp why women can get so caught up in comparison and competitiveness, jealousy and judgement. In this abundant universe, there's more than enough success and love for everyone.
If you're reading this? I am so grateful for you. This blog, writing, is my way of connecting to people, of reaching out and inviting people into my head hoping that they'll "get" me, I suppose. Thank you for the gift of your time. I cherish you!
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