A few days ago, I came across the Facebook page of an old school mate who passed on rather suddenly last year. His page was still kept active by his incredibly strong wife. And as I read the messages on his wall- I was convinced that he had made such a huge impact in the lives of people around him…..and then I wondered: Did he know he made such an impact when he was alive? Something tells me he did- but I questioned, what if he didn’t?
As I pondered on this, I remembered attending the funeral of a friend last year who also had passed away suddenly and played back the amazing things everyone said about her- her positiveness, her ever present smile, her great presence…..and then I wondered: Did she ever know how much of a difference her smile made?
I couldn’t help but bring this closer home; last year, I attended the funeral of a family member- my step mum to be specific. And at her Service of Songs, there was a call for anyone who had something to say about her, and of course I did – being one who’s never shy to take the microphone and say something that needs to be said. I spoke about how great she was, how she taught me to wash glass cups as a young woman, wash my Dad’s big bed sheets, helped me learn to debate intellectually the many times I sat with her after watching NTA 10 news as a 12 year old girl……and then I wondered: Did she know she contributed tremendously to the young woman I have become? Well I knew the answer to this one: NO! She didn’t, I had never told her!
And so I wonder: How many people have walked this same journey of mine and thought the same or perhaps wished they had said those amazing words?
To think how we sometimes feel the need to tell people how little we think of them when they wrong us! We justify it by saying: “I can’t keep it any longer, she needs to know….” Or we sound spiritual and say “…The Bible says, if you have anything against your brother, go and settle it” (paraphrased).
But then I ask myself; if only we were this passionate about telling people what they do or did right….
If only we were consumed by the desire to tell a friend that their encouraging words kept us going through tough times….
What a difference that would make…not just for us but for the recipient(s).
So I ask, not as someone who feels she has the audacity to tell you what to do but as a friend who knows how easy it is to overlook this little, yet so important act called APPRECIATION, that you pick up the phone; arrange the meeting; go on the visit; send the “thank you” card; send the text message; ping them on Blackberry; buzz them on Yahoo messenger; …..do whatever you need to do to let them know how much their kind acts or words have made a difference. Do it NOW, not later….because you just never know.
So please don’t wait till the next Mother’s Day or Father’s Day or your next wedding anniversary or their birthday- let them know now how much you appreciate them for everything they have done and still do….
So whether its:
- The Mother who chose not to abort you, or
- The Father who accepted you as his and stayed true, or
- The Woman/Man who is sharing a life with you
- The Brother who always looked out for your best interests, or
- The Sister who was always at the other end of the phone when that relationship with your ex failed, or
- The Friend who encouraged you when you lost your job, or
- The Buddy who put in a good word that eventually got you that job, or
- The Pastor who never gave up on you when you were a “growing Christian” or
- The Chemistry teacher who always believed in you, or
- The Professor who you know went the extra mile for you during your dissertation, or
- The Boss who showed you the ropes and taught you to be better at your job, or
- The Friend who believed in your dream even more than you did, or
- The Aunty whose love and affection for you helped build a positive self image, or
- The In-law who took you into his home when you first moved into that new city/town, or
- The Grandma who taught you to be a hardworking woman and never to quit, or
- The Grandfather who taught you what it meant to be a man, or
- The Friend who never let you settle when you thought you “had arrived” but kept pushing you forward, or
- The Colleague who let you have a go at that sales presentation in his place, giving you the opportunity to shine before top management, or
- The Uncle who told you to believe in your dreams and helped you set up your business, or
- The Cousin who always told you were a great photographer, and now you are a well established one, or
- The Ex-girlfriend who told you your writing skills were great and urged you to write more…and now you’re a leading columnist, or
- The Relative who gave you your first platform to speak publicly, and now you are a renowned Master of Ceremonies, or
- The Boyfriend who told you “you sing like a bird” and encouraged you to go for those singing lessons; and now your beautiful voice is what you’re known for, or…
The list is endless, but the message is precise: Someone somewhere contributed to the success that you are today. Do they know?
So go on, call these people and let them know how valuable they are, for indeed the Yoruba adage that says “Ènìyàn l’aso ìbora mi” stands true. For my non-Yoruba speaking friends, it simply means “It is people that cover my nakedness”
Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
If you have been inspired by this, then please spread the word, forward on to your friends, click the “share” tab to post on your profile and share with your family and friends…..and let’s start “The Revolution of Appreciation”
Writer – Temitope Olonilua is a passionate person who loves people, shopping and helping people look good. She runs Teeloni’s, an outfit that is into Personal Shopping, Image Styling, Gift Services and Special Events – www.teeloni.com