I appreciate you.
These are words that most people like to hear. They can help us to feel seen, recognized, validated. Recently, I said this to someone and got an unexpected response. While my words were sincere and heartfelt, they triggered a negative reaction.
This person, as a frontline worker, has heard that sentiment many times over the last ten months. His job is not a glamourous one and he doesn’t seek out recognition. Sadly, his current experience has been that people’s actions do not support their words rendering them meaningless to him. Hollow phrases that sound nice but aren’t worth much when they do not match up with how you’re treated.
This exchange really stopped me in my tracks. How many times have my words not lined up with my actions? Have there been times when I’ve merely said things out of reflex and not from my heart? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. I am not suggesting that we stop saying thank you or showing appreciation. However, this reminds me to be more aware instead of just going into auto pilot.
This has been quite a year.
If there were ever a time to show our appreciation to the people who have been on the front line it is now. Our grocery store workers, health care workers, protective service workers, postal workers, teachers and so many other essential workers who have pushed through and pressed on as the rest of the world shut down. Taking the risks so the rest of us could stay safe.
I encourage all of us to look for opportunities to truly show our appreciation. Create a sign, run errands or make a meal for an essential worker, support a local restaurant or business that is struggling, donate if you can, and most importantly be kind. Reach out to those in your circle and let them know that they are not forgotten.
Be mindful, be caring, be safe.
With love and hope for the new year,