30 Oct Happiness is…telling someone you love them, before it’s too late!
Today I'm going to share with you something I don't do often; and that is, share with you a quite personal story. I hope you find it interesting and helpful.
Just over one year ago a very good friend of mine died. He was only 42 years old, stepped out on to a road without looking, and then he wasn't with us any more.
Sammy was by no means a perfect person; but despite his flaws and shortcomings he was loved and liked, respected and highly regarded by so many people in so many different ways.
He was intelligent and witty, humourous and wildly talented in multiple areas. He was, to use a cliche, a modern day Renaissance man!
Just a month or so ago, on the anniversary of his death, quite a few friends were reminded of our loss and quite a few emails and messages and conversations were sent and had about how much we missed our good old friend and about what a fine chap he was.
It was nice in many ways, to remember our dear lost friend, and nice, also, to hear so many positive words spoken about Sam.
And I don't want, in any way, to detract from what was done and said in those days by many of my good friends and, by me, but I do want to pick up on one element of the occassion that made me feel just a touch uncomfortable…
…I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like if we'd said these things to our dear friend while he was alive!
Rather than delivering a eulogy at his funeral, rather than saying so many wonderful things to each other a year after his death, rather than…what if we'd all expressed our love and admiration and respect and liking for Sam while he was still alive?
Surely this would have been good for all of us?
So I did just that; unfortunately, it was too late to tell Sam but thankfully, it was not too late to tell a few other friends, and my wife and children. And thankfully it's not too late to tell others in my family and social network which is exactly what I intend to do more of and…
…what I invite you all to do!
Tell someone you love them…go on, do it now!
In the Positive Psychology and happiness world over the last few decades many topics have received attention from researchers and many strategies have been liked and practised by members of the general public.
One of the more popular areas, in both academia and the world at large, has been the practice of appreciation and gratitude.
In very simple terms there are two components to appreciation – experiencing and expressing.
The former, experiencing apprciation, comes simply from actively focusing more on what you have and less on what you don't have. It comes from counting your blessings and attending to what's going well (rather than what's not going well).
This is indubitably helpful BUT what's also extremely important and beneficial in a completely different way is expressing appreciation and gratitude. This comes from telling others that you're grateful for what they've done, for who they are, or simply that they're in your life.
This latter part is, unfortunately, not practiced enough which is a pity because the benefits are enormous for us all; and expressing gratitude can also fuel the spreading of happiness and positive emotions so they spread, throughout social networks and communities, so we all benefit.
So do to it now…think about someone who in some way or other has had a positive influence on or in your life and go and tell them how much you appreciate what they did (or are doing). I can guarantee you'l enjoy it and so too will they.
Based on the words above, what can each and every one of you do to boost your happiness and enhance the happiness and wellbeing of each and every person within your personal and social network?
list those people in your life for whom you're grateful
list all the reasons you appreciate these people (from your partner and kids to your extended family and colleagues)
reflect on these people, and their actions or roles, and meditate upon the goodness
then go and tell them! That's right, call up at least some of these people, go and see them, and explain to them how much you love and/or appreciate who they are and what they do (ideally this should be done face-to-face but if that's too dfificult for whatever reason then obviously you can call or write or even email)
repeat the above steps as often as you wish with as many people as you wish as many times as you wish!
And that's about it. This idea, that's evolved out of the positive psychology research, is not overly comlicated but it will be extremely powerful and beneficial. Give it a go and let us know what you think (share your experiences HERE on our Facebook Page).