A while back, I was standing in the elevator of my building and this woman came in with her kids, and somehow we started talking. Nothing unusual, and then she said, “I’ve seen you around the building, and you seem like such a nice man.” She seemed to be a native Spanish speaker and this made her words even more special for me.
“Wowww!” I said, truly blown away by the sincerity, warmth, and generosity of her words.
She went on. “I mean it. There is something special about the way you smile and look at people.”
There was no agenda in her speaking to me except to acknowledge me for what she saw, and the effect on me was immense. I thanked her for sharing what she said, and I remember leaving the elevator and walking to my destination feeling Tony-the-Tiger Grrreaaaaat! And it lasted the rest of the day.
It’s amazing how powerful words are to heal, to love … to destroy. Sadly, we usually use them unconsciously and many of us carry around the scars for the rest of our lives. I did a program once called Team Management and Leadership and one of the things we were trained in is how to acknowledge people. I had forgotten the beauty and power of this little practiced art and I’m happy to have this in my life again.
I’m making acknowledgments (like the gift that happened to me in the elevator) part of the practice of my life, and I’m happy to say I delivered one to a complete stranger on a subway yesterday and it felt great. I’ll write about that another time.
Why not take the time to acknowledge someone in your life for the difference they make? Your waiter, your co-worker, son, daughter, boss etc. It’s different than saying thanks for something, and there is no agenda on your part apart from sharing something authentically.
It’s a way of saying, I see you; you make a difference; the world is a better more beautiful place because you are in it.
Try it. You may find it truly is better to give than to receive.