Life is moving at a breakneck pace, and each of us is forced by our e-mails, our iPads and our need to stay afloat to keep going faster. In this rush, many of us have forgotten to say “thank you” for even the simplest things, from the checkout person in our grocery store, to a waiter in a restaurant, to an operator giving us a phone number – even for an invitation or an event we are privileged to attend.
You might be surprised at how much we all need acknowledgment. And on this #WorldKindnessDay and it being #Movember, I thought it was a good time to talk about showing love and appreciation to the men in our lives.
We all crave recognition. We crave recognition almost as much as air and water. Truth is, we NEED recognition and praise to carry us all through the difficult times we face. To add another layer, in honour of Men’s Month, think of how often we recognise the MEN in our lives…
Needing recognition is not a weakness, it is just a part of life.
Our relationships with the men in our lives need to be nurtured in order to stay healthy. One of our primary responsibilities in our relationships is to feed the ego of other people – in a healthy way of course. Just like with a real human diet, small consistent “feedings” are far healthier than binge feeding once in a great while and then starving for nourishment in between.
Those small consistent feedings are called compliments, feedback, and active listening. If you’re a person who starves the people in your life of ego food then you are missing a big piece of your relationships.
None of this is new; most people intrinsically know that others need recognition and feedback. The mistake they make is believing they can provide that recognition and feedback when “they have an extra moment” or in their “free time.”
Look at your calendar, go ahead and look right now. Exactly when is that “extra moment” or “free time” on your calendar?
Most of us don’t have extra time or free time in our day. That means the time required to provide recognition and feedback to others in your life must be a priority. It must be planned and intentional. It needs to be more than “once in a while” because a “while” can be a very long time when you’re a busy.
If you really desire to grow your relationships with the men in your life, then you need to give them the recognition they NEED in order to grow. When was the last time you purposely stopped what you were doing to give well deserved recognition or feedback? When was the last time you put the phone down, didn’t send that Tweet, Text or Whatsapp and told your husband/father/partner/male figure in your life how important they are to you?
If you don’t know the date and time then I would say it’s been way too long.
The biggest benefit of appreciating others is it just simply makes you feel good. They feel good, you feel good, and good things are accomplished both personally and professionally. Win-win-win. Take a moment today to be mindful and purposeful in your interactions with the men in your life. Make sure that they are acknowledged and know they are appreciated. It takes so little effort to create a sacred space for your relationships.
Do something different.
The more effort you put into a gesture, the more the man in your life feels the love. The fact that you’ve gone the extra mile decreases distance between you. So, for example, leaving a trail of love notes with hearts shouts “I really love you!” more than a simple “I love you” at the end of every phone call. Or taking the time to go visit your Dad instead of a monthly phone call could make all the difference.
Get (a little bit) complicated – Doing slightly difficult things for your loved one brings you closer.
What you’re telling him: “I’m willing to put forth special effort for you.”
How much EFFORT you put into something is inversely proportional to how much you care. And I’m not talking about financial effort here, sometimes the most loving things cost next to nothing. Here’s a few ideas:
- A carefully planned getaway weekend with your man. Take your loved one somewhere special or transform your bedroom into your idea of a favorite getaway. Get creative and change your outfit, wear a colour your partner doesn’t reguarly see you in. (Remember, it’s the effort that counts)
- Talk to the men in your life about getting tested. Tested for what? Everything. Prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, you name it… he should get tested for it. Testicular cancer affects younger men and prostate cancer affects older men. We must be the guiding force in our men’s lives.
MUCH research has been done to show that women are motivating factors for men to get cancer screenings. We can help our brothers, husbands, friends, fathers, sons to get tested for these cancers. We DO make a difference.
- Instead of putting off family visits, make more of an effort to see the men in your life face to face. Sure, phone calls are great, but actually being present (if possible) to talk to your father is everything. If you can’t physically be there, there are a multitude of ways for you to still talk face to face. Skype, Google Hangouts, Face Time leaves no reason for you not to see your Dad (or father figures) shining smile in real time. Make the effort.
- Make a collage of pictures from some of the most memorable moments of your time together, whether digitally or on paper!
Love is a verb. It’s not a word you say – it’s a thing you do. Words can be chosen and changed and manipulated, but actions, as they say, speak for themselves. How you show someone your love makes a big difference. How have you shown love and appreciation for the men in your life? I’d love to hear all about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s talk about it!