Words matter. They matter more than we sometimes realize. In my case, they are HUGE. Ever read “The Five Love Languages”? My primary love language is Quality Time. Words of Affirmation and Gifts tied for second. Words of Affirmation. In other words, sincere praise, compliments, words of thanks . . . I THRIVE on them!!
Don’t try and flatter me. I mean it. Don’t offer me empty flattery. Insincerity drives me nuts. But if I have done something right/good/helpful . . . you get the idea . . . and you offer me sincere thank/praise/encouragement then you have made my day. Maybe my week. Heck, maybe even my month.
It’s no secret I am a theater geek. Hardcore and not ashamed! I currently have the privilege of serving as rehearsal accompanist and pit pianist for the local community college’s production of “All Shook Up!” Yes, I get paid to do the job. But the truth is I would volunteer my services. Not only do I love what I’m doing, the show’s director and the pit director have offered genuine, authentic praise and thanks for my work. I would go to the moon for those two if they asked.
Ironically, I was chatting with my hubby about that very fact just before walking into another one of my jobs where I never receive any affirmation or praise. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of my conversations there are based on what I’m doing wrong or should do differently. No paycheck in the world is enough to replace sincere appreciation for the effort I am in putting. I’m not getting much (if any) appreciation and I’m fairly certain – after months of being in the job – that the situation will not improve any time soon.
Before you get the urge to scold me – I’m not trying to garner sympathy and I’m not looking for “coping” suggestions. I’m sharing a lesson learned – words matter. They matter more than you realize. Paychecks are a necessary part of life. But money isn’t always enough to motivate people, to build loyalty and for me at least, it never feeds my soul.
So I will seek chances to offer authentic praise and encouragement whenever possible. I’ve seen how much it touches me. I need to do what I can to pass that on to others!