We grow up wondering how people feel about us. As we advance through life, that wonder grows less. We should spend more energy telling our friends and love ones how important they are or how much they mean to us.
A few years ago, a dear friend of mine turned 80. I was faced with: What do you give someone who has everything but would have an impact? I saw one of Oprah’s shows where you ask people to write on a card what that person means to you and put it in a box. This was my gift to my friend. I found a special box in Colonial Williamsburg, VA that would hold all the index cards from everyone attending the party. Ask everyone as they arrived to write a few words to our guest of honor and sign it — please make sure she can read it. And I presented it to her later as a gift from everyone. People really put their hearts and soul on those cards to my friend — a treasure that could be revisited over and over again long after the candles burned out and the glasses washed. Thanks Oprah for that wonderful idea!
Then today, I received an email from Dennis who wrote about his near death experience and decided to put a list of 10 things we could do that would make someone else feel good about themselves.
I wanted to share these ideas because I know when I put a smile on someone else’s face, it really makes my heart heat up with what I like to call “feeling good all under.” Here’s Dennis’ list — I hope you find something you can do for that special someone you treasure. Enjoy!
- Create a scrapbook about them. Most people like to be recognized. Recognize them with pictures, newspaper clippings, accomplishments, personal anecdotes and notes about how much they mean to you and how great they are.
- Create a Top X List of the reasons you love or appreciate them (Top Ten reasons you love them, Top 25 reasons they inspire you, etc.). Men, don’t say dumb things like “You make the best meat loaf in the world” unless she’s worked really hard to please you with her cooking. Think from the heart, not the stomach. Then buy a blank card and as neatly as you can, hand print the list inside, or even better, hire someone who does calligraphy to print it out neatly and frame it for the wall or desk.
- Make a romantic photo album of your best times together, then set the stage for an evening alone. Relive the happy memories together by going through the photo album and talking about the good times.
- Make something for them. Handmade gifts don’t have to be perfect to be special. If you don’t think you can make something yourself, hire someone to make something. A lot of local artisans would love to make something special for you and will do so at a reasonable price.
- Have a photo calendar made that features special moments from their life or special people in their life. Just do a search for “photo calendars” and you’ll find plenty of sources.
- Get some construction paper and cut out little rectangles and fold them into colorful mini-cards. Write their name on the front and “happy” notes inside and hide them in places your loved one will find over time. Tuck one in a shirt pocket hanging in the closet, in their car, in a desk drawer, inside the case of one of their favorite music CD’s, in a shoe, in the back of a book they’re reading, etc. Imagine the many happy little surprises they’ll discover!
- Write a poem for them or about them. Flatter them in it—make them feel good about themselves! If you play the guitar, piano, or another instrument you can sing along with, write a song about them.
- If your loved one’s parents are alive and live near you, arrange to take them out to dinner but don’t tell anyone the reason why. Once you are seated and have ordered, tell the parents you wanted to take them out to dinner to thank them for bringing your loved one into this world. Tell them how much their son or daughter means to you. You can expect tears of joy to flow!
- When your loved one has gone somewhere, do something for them that they hate to do. Maybe it’s mowing the lawn, vacuuming the whole house, cleaning their car, weeding the garden, washing the windows, giving the dog a bath or some other unpleasant chore.
- Buy a gift certificate to their favorite store. Take them out to lunch and swing by the store when you’re finished—don’t tell them where you’re going, but make sure they don’t have to be somewhere else soon. When you park the car just get out and start walking toward the store, they’ll follow. When you get to the door give them the gift certificate and tell them to having fun picking out whatever they want.
If you don’t like any of my ideas, don’t worry, you can probably think of other things that are even better. The point is, do something unexpected and kind for them to show how much they mean to you. It will often turn out to be as good for you as it is for them.