Our lives are heavily influenced, positively and negatively, every day. The negative actions, interactions and consequences often are the ones we remember, think about, ponder, and have grief over the most. The problem is that in our narrow negativity, we rarely stop to think about all the moments we borrowed, gained inspiration, learned, laughed, or received aid. We are easy to blame, become frustrated or angry, and judge others, yet we are not easy to thank others when we choose to make one positive decision in our life thanks TO someone else.
We see people every day. At home, at work, at the grocery store, driving in the car, at the gas station, on the TV, and even on social media. We are constantly surrounded by human interaction, and even if you are a stay at home mom and you feel as if your adult-human interaction is few, you probably spend some time perusing the internet looking on Pinterest or Facebook, or reading blogs.
With the opportunity for human interaction in every part of our lives, it only stands to reason that the hundreds of people we interact or see daily influence us, and inspire us to make choices and decisions regularly.
Maybe the blog you read one day caused you to rethink how you parent your children. But you never told the person how it altered your style of parenting and it’s changed your life!
Maybe someone posted a crockpot recipe and you tried it, and it became your family’s favorite meal, and now it’s a staple in your household! But you never thanked the person for posting it, and yet it brings your family so much joy when you sit down together to eat.
Maybe you don’t interact much with your old friend from high school, but you read their updates regularly and one day you were inspired by a vacation they took with their family, and you went on a family vacation just like it! But you never told them “thanks” for the inspiration that allowed you to create beautiful memories with your loved ones.
Maybe your middle school English teacher was so passionate about what she did, and so able to capture your attention that it inspired you (maybe even 20 years later) to write a book. But you never got to share with her how sitting in that classroom influenced you into adulthood.
Maybe you were arguing with your spouse one day and someone posted an inspirational quote and you were able to rationally talk and apologize to your significant other thanks to this quote, and maybe that one small moment where you approached your spouse becomes a positive and pivotal moment in your relationship. The person who posted, I’m sure, would love hear from you about the positive impact it had on you. Maybe they posted it because they are going through similar struggles and they need someone to talk to, or they just need to be lifted up.
Maybe your coworker walked in one day wearing a new dress that you liked, and you liked it so much that you went out and bought some new clothes for work. But you never told her that she was the reason you feel better about yourself thanks to your new wardrobe Maybe she needs to hear it because she’s feeling insecure, too.
Maybe your LulaRoe consultant would love to hear how her decisions to enter into a new business venture have completely changed how you feel about yourself and you have more self confidence thanks to the comfortable and stylish clothes you get to parade around.
Maybe all of these people need to know that something they did matters to someone. We are influenced on large and small scales by people in positive ways every day and we need to take the time to lift one another up and be thankful in every small act, intentional or not.
So, how often do we take the time to think about this?
And more importantly, how often do we take the time to tell people in our lives just how much they’ve changed our life, and what that changed has meant to us?
There are the obvious people who have helped to shape the people we are: mom, dad, husband, best friend. But, what about the simpler relationships? Those are the ones that we lose sight of. The simple moments can often have the biggest impact.
Like me, you may also be thinking of people who you don’t have any way to contact to tell them “thank you”, but I think they’re worth mentioning anyway. Even if they aren’t able to see how much they’ve meant to you some point along the way, it’s worth it to you to think about those small moments and how they’ve helped mold you into the person you are. Even if they can’t see it, I can, and I’d love to hear about your special person!
I know I’ve failed to acknowledge loads of people at various points in my life, but that is going to change. I am going to vow to be more intentional and reflective in the path my life takes, because everyone needs to be encouraged and I want everyone to know and see how everything we do creates a rippling effect.
To the friend I know I haven’t seen you in years (close to 4, I think), thank you for being so kind to me when I was pregnant and lost on this whole mommy thing. You invited me to your house to talk, shared your maternity clothes with me, and when I when I was struggling in the beginning with Blake, you offered comfort and let me borrow your Baby Wise book. I’ll never forget you for this! Your recommendation for this book perfectly aligned with our parenting philosophy, and set us up on the path to be the kind of parents we wanted to be. I don’t say it, but I think of you often for this. I just should’ve told you sooner.
To the friend who also there in the beginning of my step into motherhood, thanks to your advice on parenting discipline, and baby sign language. Thanks to you, we skipped a lot of parenting headaches because we were able to communicate with our little man well before he was talking. I believe this cut down on a lot of communication breakdowns we might have otherwise had. It also cut down on a lot of parenting headaches! Thanks to you, we started time outs way sooner than what I would’ve thought appropriate and boy as it worth it!
To my dear Irish friend, I’ve always loved your cute fashion sense. One day you wore a beautiful polka dotted dress to church and I fell in love! You told me you bought it from Boden online, and now half my wardrobe is from Boden! Their dresses are perfectly my style and capture the essence of my personality. I feel so good and like myself when I wear them! You are one of THE coolest moms I know and I often think in my head “Okay, what would Emer do?” and just like that, you’ve inspired me!
To the friend I know I’ve had had little interaction with, and these days it seems to only occur on Facebook, but your FB posts artistically inspire me to want to be a more hands-on parent. I love your FB posts of ideas, crafts, and organization. I think you’re an amazing hands-on mom and I hope to be more like you (with my one kid-lol)
To the friend I who started teaching the same year I did, you are one of the strongest people I know and I gather a lot of inspiration and strength from your life journey. Your life puts mine into perspective and people like you are my driving force when things get tough. I think of you often, actually.
To the man who paid my Chick-Fil-A order once, thank you. Because of your kindness, I now do this for others regularly.
I have so many more people to ‘thank’ and will continue to ado so!
I hope you’ll take the time to reach out as well to people in your life somehow as well. Tell them all about yourself and how you’ve done some of the things you’ve done thanks to them, big or small. You can now make a difference in their life with just a few words.
So, always be kind, gracious, inspiring, and thankful, because, chances are, someone was that way to you first.
Who do you need to say Thank You to?