The Words We Don’t Speak

When it comes to voicing our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, how much goes unsaid?  Why is it that we go years without telling people how we genuinely feel about them and how much light they bring to our lives? I’ve experienced some heartbreaking losses in my relatively short time on earth….an uncle to stomach cancer, a good friend to suicide, a grandfather to a stroke, and the list goes on. But the one regret I had across all of them, was that I didn’t get to tell them just how much they genuinely gave me strength, support, and love in my life.

Why do we wait until it’s too late before we give voice to the love stirring in our hearts? Is it laziness? Do we just assume they already know? Do we think it’s not worth our breath?  I suppose it’s human nature to always think “there will be a next time”….until there isn’t. The philosopher Seneca said,

“You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”

We are not immortal, and there’s no guarantee you nor your loved ones will be around to hear the words “YOU ARE LOVED.”

I intimately know how short and unpredictable life can be, and probably a big reason I live the way I do. However, there is one practice I’ve started to integrate into my life that has changed how I connect with people – friends and strangers alike – and that’s to always take a moment to directly tell them how much I appreciate them. It takes such little effort on our part but could mean so much to the other person. Speaking your truth and spreading love directly into the hearts of the people we care about has an immediate and lasting effect.

Here’s an easy way you can integrate this practice in your life: When something triggers a thought about a loved one (no matter how random), call/text them to say that you’re thinking of them and share specifically why you appreciate the friendship/relationship. I believe these random thoughts are not random at all, but the universe or our subconscious nudging us to connect. Everyone is living their own struggle, and your words could be the light that gives them strength in a moment of need.

Your words are powerful, use it to cultivate love and connection to those around you.

Don’t be Thankful, Do This Instead

Before you think I’ve gone completely insane by asking you not to be thankful (it is Thanksgiving after all), hear me out. It’s so easy to feel thankful when you’re surrounded by friends and family, on holiday, or when all is going great in your life. According to the definition of “thankful”, the word means “pleased and relieved”, which in my interpretation means a word associated with a reactionary feeling. It’s a passive thing to feel “thankful”, and doesn’t demand much effort on your end to feel thankfulness, especially on a day that almost requires you to feel this emotion.

On the flip side, “gratefulness” is defined as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” It’s not just a reaction, but an active response to an act of kindness that requires more than just a knee-jerk reaction of “thankfulness”.

My wish for all you today is to actively carry the act of gratefulness in your heart rather than blindly celebrating “thankfulness”. Be actively grateful for all the kindness you’ve been shown in your life to allow you to live the way you do today. Be actively grateful for the kindness of friends, strangers, and family members who have paved the way for your life. Do not passively show “thankfulness” and merely be “pleased and relieved” for this one wonderous life you’ve been given. Hold gratefulness in your heart today. Hug your family members, tell your friends you love them, and be grateful for each and every amazing soul you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, as they are the ones who shape and influence your life. Today is just one day, but gratefulness can last the other 364 days of the year.

Who or what are you grateful for today?