I’m training to become a Stephen’s Minister (a lay person who gives Christian care to someone in need), and last week we practiced giving affirmations/compliments. We went around the room and said something nice about each person sitting around the table. At first it was a little awkward; we really didn’t know each other very well, so giving genuine affirmations to strangers was a little tricky. But as we got on, things warmed up, and all of a sudden every single person in that room was glowing. It was so cool to realize that giving the affirmations was just as beneficial as receiving them.
At the same time, I’ve been reading “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s All Small Stuff” by Dr. Richard Carlson (because if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know how I very much sweat the small stuff!). Two of his suggestions are to think of someone to love and someone to thank every single day, which helps free your mind from negativity. This kind of ties into one of my favorite movies, “Eat, Pray, Love“, where Richard Jenkins‘ character tells Julia Roberts‘ character to send someone “light and love”, a concept which just resonates in me. And, to bring it all full circle, we can go to 1 John 1:5-7 which says, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[a] sin.”
Long story short, I decided to put this into practice with the girls to (hopefully) instill a lifetime habit of love and gratitude. Normally at dinner I make the girls go around the table and tell me their favorite part of the day. I use a dorky, game-show host type voice and hold up a pretend microphone. They groan, but secretly love it (hopefully….or they could actually hate it). Tonight, though I told them that I had a different game. First, I asked them to think of someone that they knew to send love to. I explained that love, like God, is EVERYWHERE, and that we can send our love to whoever we want, whenever we want. L said that she wanted to send love to her best friend, who was sad because his Mimi had gone back home. C wanted to send love to her preschool bestie who had just moved to Wisconsin. I said that I was sending love to my mom, because she’d had a long day.
Next, we went around the table and thought of somebody to send thanks to. L wanted to thank her BFF for writing her notes. C wanted to say thank you to HER best friend for coming back from Wisconsin (I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he isn’t coming back). I said that I wanted to thank them for being so patient (tongue in cheek with the word “patient”) when I got my oil changed earlier in the day.
Finally, we went around the table and said one nice thing about each person. Their compliments to their baby sister were the cutest; they both told her how adorable she is, and that she’s a fun baby (which is a far cry from what they were screaming earlier when she was taking their toys).
So that’s it. Love, light, and gratitude every day = happier, kinder, more peaceful family? Hopefully.