The Perfect Gift for All Your Important Relationships. And It Doesn’t Cost a Penny

My most important childhood relationship

My most significant relationship when I was growing up was with my grandmother.  She raised me. I’ve written about the hardships and poverty several times. One story came to mind as I was contemplating today’s post.  When I was around ten, my hands and feet seemed to have outgrown the rest of me. Sort of like a Great Dane puppies feet.  As puppies, you can tell a Great Dane is going to be a big dog because their paws are so huge and their body just hasn’t caught up yet. Likewise, I had big feet and looooong fingers. If I had a nickel for everytime someone asked me if I played the piano, I’d be richer today no doubt.

Like most children my age, I longed for my grandmother’s appreciation and approval.  Sadly, she was the opposite in nature. Everything I did was never good enough. And heaven forbid if anything went wrong, it was my fault.  In light of my long fingers and daily piano playing comments, a widow across the street made an offer. She had a piano, and she could teach me to play if my grandmother would allow it. I was ecstatic at the thought of it for several reasons: 1. It was across the street, and grandmother was controlling when it came to letting me venture past the end of the road even though I walked over four blocks to school every day.  2. My grandmother played the piano. Surely, it would make her proud if I could be like her. We would have something in common, something that we could bond over. 3. She would do it for free because she understood my grandmother’s only income was a social security check. In any event, despite all the excellent reasons it could happen she gave an emphatic no! My heart crushed once again.

Fast forward a few decades

At any rate, life moved on, and I learned to live without her expressed approval or appreciation. I know she was proud of me even though she sucked at showing it. I achieved a lot both before and after her passing. Two things I accomplished after her passing included writing two books. While I didn’t realize it, I still longed for those important relationships to be proud of me.

However, before I share my revelation let me say my husband had not read my books.  It bothered me although I couldn’t put my finger on why.  Like a lot of men, he doesn’t read much. If you discount the sports pages of the local paper during football season and his favorite Mustang magazine you would say he doesn’t read at all. It’s part of the attraction, I’m a bookworm, and he’s an outgoing people guy. And besides, both my books were targeted at women. He would give it a valent effort but never really get very far.

New blog, new revelation

Much to my delight when I revamped my blog this year towards growth and made it devotional-size he began reading it. He regularly shares and comments. Earlier this week this blog post had a profound impact on someone we both have as an acquaintance. And she shared how it touched her on Facebook.  My husband followed with some very sweet words that touched me. Not just the usual “aww, that’s nice, ” but the touched me as in my heart smiled even bigger than the grin on my face. As I was looking at his comments and soaking them in, I heard in my spirit “that’s what appreciation and approval feel like.”

By all means, I’m not talking about the unhealthy seeking of approval, but I’m talking about the healthy giving of appreciation and approval.  It is a gift that you can give those important people in your life. A gift that will go right to their hearts and lift them up for hours if not days. It’s an amazing gift, which will reap incredible rewards in your relationship, and it won’t cost you a penny.  At most, it will take a few minutes to recognize what’s important to them and what they are good at and let them know.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on your most important relationships at work, with family and with friends and journal the answers to the following questions.

  1. Make a list of 2-3 people in each category above. Take a few minutes to note what’s important to them and what they do well.
  2. Now make a list of few ways you might show that appreciation and approval to them this week.
  3. Whose approval or appreciation do you need for your work? Do they know how much it means to you? For those important people in your life that you have healthy relationships with, don’t be afraid to let them know the importance of this to you.  It’s the healthiest way to get your needs met.

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