Say “Thank You”
Something goes right or something goes wrong. Someone says something about it. That something is a compliment or an apology. Oh. Compliments and apologies are so . . . um, er . . . direct. The words, the thoughts come straight at us. It’s almost natural to move out of the way.
“Oh that, it was nothing,” is not an unusual response.
Or maybe it’s the other way around. Something goes right or something goes wrong. We need to say something. We try to apologize or give say how touched we were by an action, but the words come out wrong.
Apologies and compliments can feel unnatural, if no one has shown us how. Even when we mean to be gracious, we can deny or discount ourselves and the person on the other side of the conversation. From what I see, that’s what most often happens.
“This old thing?”
Whether giving or receiving, if head and heart are together and focused on the other person, we’ll get it right.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry, but that’s a rule to give by, not to live by — that’s only part of the story. Love also means telling a person how you feel and letting that person say what he or she needs to.
No matter how embarassing, love listens when people tell us how it feels to have made a hurtful mistake or to have received a kindness.
Sometimes I need to know that you’ve heard how sorry I am. It helps me heal.
Receiving or giving, it’s about listening. It’s about the other person. How could it not be and still be authentic? It’s not so hard to do. One simple thought changes everything. A real person meant what was just said. I need to show respect for that. That one thought can generate so many responses.
I’m sorry. I behaved badly. . . . I am so happy for you. . . . Wow! Thank you, I work hard, and that means a lot. . . . I hear you. . . . I understand.
It took me decades to realize that compliments and apologies weren’t about me. It only took minutes to find a new way of responding.
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss