Tuesday, February 18, 2014
One easy way to make another's day
My sensitivity contributes to a strong capacity for self-reflection and introspection. I've been noticing lately how very desperate I feel for affirmation and approval. I literally feel like there's a bottomless pit of need within me, crying out for praise and validation. Even when I do get the accolades I think I'm craving, I rarely feel better. This need for affirmation is not bad in itself. God put this need within all of us and big needs as an adult almost always reflect unmet/inadequately met needs from childhood. This need for affirmation becomes a problem when it leads me to focus on myself instead of God and others. The past few weeks, I've definitely been guilty of this.
I was having a particularly desperate night on Sunday, when I went to pick up some take-out. The teenage boy at the register was very helpful but serious. I had a long list of things I did not want on my food and he went over the order backwards and forwards to make sure he had it right. He must have said something slightly wrong (which I didn't notice) because he apologized and said he was having an off day. I stepped outside of my own grumpiness and told him with a smile how thorough he was in making sure my order was right. He smiled shyly and it was easy to see how much the observation meant to him.
At work, I see a lot of people who are hurting deeply and they often present as angry and jaded. It can be easy to fall into doing the bare minimum with them, but today I pointed out to a client how happy her baby seems when he looks at her, and her abrasive scowl quickly became a beaming smile.
What's important about all of this, is that people just long to be seen- to be noticed. They don't even need praise most of the time. Simply noticing is enough. I'm going to commit myself to pointing out all the little positive- however seemingly trivial- things I notice about the people I meet.