Never doubt the power of the right words to make someone’s life more pleasant and more bearable.
I’m in a pretty lousy mood tonight because I have an unexpected problem on my hands that I have to solve. After dealing with a series of one problem after another for more years than I like to remember, it’s been a relatively minor thing tonight that pushed me over the edge toward the pit of depression and irrational anger, a place I don’t want to go.
In the long term, I’m still on track to fix the problems in my life that started six or eight years ago after I withdrew from politics, so I know this is just one more minor hurdle to overcome. The issue wouldn’t even be that big a deal for most people, but it was the proverbial straw to break this camel’s emotional back.
I found myself feeling bitter, angry, frustrated and defeated — as well as empty and alone.
But in the midst of feeling these horrible emotions tonight, I’ve gotten messages from two people which honestly help.
One friend wrote to mention how much some of my writing means to him. He didn’t specify what has meant something to him. He didn’t specify why it had been important to him. He just said that something about my writing “helps me in ways you don’t understand.”
Is there any better praise for a writer than to make a difference in someone’s life?
Then I got an email from a stranger who said he just wanted to tell me how much he enjoys my writing since he recently discovered it. His words were so effusive and so positive that it was hard for me to recognize them as being about me. The message was from someone who seemed to understand the underlying intentions of my writing and who strongly praised the actual writing.
Isn’t that sort of praise a bigger deal for a writer than getting a million web hits from people who are coldly indifferent?
Neither of these messages changed anything about the problem that has me frustrated tonight. On a pragmatic level, nothing is any different. I still have to solve a serious, immediate problem. Nothing about their messages changed any of that.
But their words helped to bandage my hurting heart just a bit. They made me feel appreciated and they even made me feel slightly less alone.
I think we all need (and in many cases crave) connection with people who appreciate us and understand us, at least to a degree. Words of appreciation from these two people — one who I know and one who I don’t know — make me feel that tonight.
Remember that some people around you need a word or two from you — just as you probably need some kind words from others, too, at least at times.
Connection can help us make it through bad times and it can give meaning to the good times. We need each other far more than we sometimes recognize.
Please find someone around you today and let him or her know what you appreciate about him or her. You might be shocked by how much your simple words can mean.
Just try it.