Day 9: 44 to 44 at 4:44

Just say it. And mean it. Heart words.

Have you ever walked past / watched someone and thought: “WOW!” or just smiled … For whatever reason … they looked great, perfume smelt great, beautiful smile, helped with loads of patience, grace and integrity, picked up a paper in a public space that someone else dropped, stopped someone from overstepping their boundary …

Please, not the creepy, stalking type of watching … the genuine looking up and seeing someone / something happen where the result just makes the world seem a brighter place.

Have you?

And if you did, did you say something?

We are not all the same and I don’t expect us all to just compliment or thank or encourage someone you don’t know in a public space where you don’t know what to expect. But have you ever done it when you thought it should be done?

Have you ever said something nice enexpectedly to someone and see their eyes light up? Have you ever tried it? Thought it? Motioned to?

I’m asking the question because for me the concept is simple and powerful … the doing though, a little more challenging. Why? I’m not sure, but I also know. Compliments do not come easy, It took me a very long time, and if I’m honest I still struggle with it probably half the time, to accept a compliment and feel the good of it with the gift of it. Why? I am not entirely sure of this. I cannot remember if compliments were a regular part of my upbringing and culture. That said probably means that it wasn’t such a regular thing to tell someone they look good, they have a great smile, you appreciate who they are for you … yes, expressing gratitude wasn’t high up there either … and now when I express it it still feels awkward.

I write those things down much easier than saying it face to face. It’s like the words that I should’ve said only hits me in the face after the moment. And when I mean after the moment, I really mean by the time I’m back home and reflecting.

It’s been a process. And I’m sure my closest friends can attest to this.

I find it most difficult to express these sentiments to my family members. Even Happy Birthdays are kinda awkward and not what I feel them to be. So basically it’s hard to express my emotions in the way I would like to express them when I am with my close peoples.

I know why. I wasn’t taught it. (I’m not blaming anybody.) If this was not part of me growing up it means generationally … you know the answer.

So now I have to teach myself this. Expressing my feelings in a healthy way so that it can communicate exactly what I mean and feel within the context. I don’t want to feel that I should still have said xyz … and I should say what I want to say in the most concise and respectful manner.

This is hard. For me. And it’s been a journey that I’ve been finding myself on for quite a while. I’ve learnt a lot from friends and family, from foreigners and strangers alike. The challenge is especially beautiful when foreign friends express appreciation, compliments and just total love in a language I understand but in the way of their culture.

And yes, I called it a challenge because inside colour bombs go off. What I first feel are the bombs and then I’m overwhelmed by the colour (of joy, love, hugs and the feels of it all). Why? All kinds of questions come up! Why are they saying that? What am I supposed to say / do now? What am I supposed to feel? Why don’t I feel comfortable with this expression of emotion? Why can’t I do that? Explosion!!!

Work in progress. I’m better than I was and I’m still working on it. It’s one of those lifetime tasks. Learning as you live it. Applying as you learn. Finding yourself in awkward situations and then becoming comfortable in those situations.

I find it increasingly easy to express love, gratitude, affection to people I connect with these days. People who are new in my life, people who don’t know that this is something I find overwhelming sometimes. I love how meeting new people give you a chance to be a better version of yourself and that’s the person that they get to know. I also love that I can share my struggles easier with them when we establish our connection. That I can say I appreciate them easier. That I can also say what I don’t like easier … (a whole other conversation).

It’s not as much a struggle anymore as it is a process through which I continue to grow.

I was never a hugger. I love hugs though … I mean once I got to know them (and the different types of hugs and intentions). I love the big bear hugs the mostest. The ones that makes you feel safe and loved and connected and connecting. The ones you can just snuggle into and you don’t have to say anything. I needed one of those this week. I remember the first time I felt this type of hug … it was the year 2000. The bestest hugs. I met some more thereafter, but the first one will always be THE one. That person is not with us anymore, the hugs and the words that go with it will always remain.

How did I get to hugs? Sometimes a hug speaks volumes if you don’t have the words. But please, don’t just hug people unless you have permission. And also, NO HUGGING NOW – Covid-19 restrictions.

Let your words (and hugs when they’re allowed again) bring safety, encouragement and understanding to the person and place where they are exchanged. A place where one can exhale slowly and feel peace rippling over you like a playful clear fresh water stream. May you feel as encouraged by the words you speak to encourage others.

When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. It may take a second to say, but for them it could last a life time.

I still smile when I think of the times it has happened to me. I smile broader for the times I paid it forward.

Let your words encourage.

Speak life.

Exhale.

You are loved.

Thank you for reading.

You have a great smile.

Be blessed. And be a blessing.

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