There are a lot of ways to affirm those we love and admire without being insincere or over the top. Lately I have been doing some homework for a class I took on the “Charisms,” which are spiritual gifts given by God to be shared for others. One of the ways you know if you have a certain charism (after taking a short inventory) is to put it to practice and look for the three markers to show up. One of these markers is when people come back to you with encouragement or affirmation of that spiritual gift, especially when the feedback far exceeds the effort.
I am so blessed with so many affirming and encouraging people in my life and I realize this is special. I counted that blessing many times this past Thanksgiving weekend. Kind words are shared on a daily basis and I don’t take that for granted, but there is one group of sentiments that stops me in my tracks because, whereas anyone could say it, it is just for me. Curious?
That Thing You Do
Anyone who watched this popular movie with Tom Hanks about the “One Hit One-ders” back in 1996 remembers the catchy song that was played throughout the movie by the young band that emulated the Monkeys or the Beatles. The song was stuck in our ears for months, but the meaning of the title seemed to say nothing and everything at once.
“That thing you do” is to identify the quintessence of a person. When someone is just being themselves in a way that is their very own. If you think now about anyone you know, you can picture them immediately doing “that thing they do” and a smile comes across your face. (This is a positive exercise of course. The annoying things we do is for another post😉 .)
Do Your Thing
We have moved a few times in our marriage and I remember one particular time after we had the main pieces of furniture moved in my husband said “Ok Meg. There you go. Now do your thing.” He walked away and didn’t think much of it, but I was completely flattered because I guess I didn’t know I had a thing. Secondly, my husband liked whatever it was that I had done in the past in the way of decorating our home, and that meant the world to me.
Put Your Touch On It
Recently, I started drawing and painting again. I did a drawing of a childhood home for a friend recently and while I thought it was satisfactory, the feedback I got was much more positive than I expected (which is one way you discern a charism as we said.) So I started practicing more often. A few members of my family decided I should do this on Etsy by commissions, and so I practiced more over the weekend from pictures of homes that my kids challenged me to draw. After the first attempt, my oldest son and his wife said “Yes, good. Now put your touch on it. Do what you do.” Again, these words caught me off guard and were incredibly affirming, not because of the art, but because it felt like someone saw my soul. I wasn’t even sure what exactly they meant, but it felt good to have something that they identified as uniquely mine.
I have always tried to affirm my children in this way without realizing that is what I was doing. I know they are special and each have a very unique set of gifts and qualities that make them quintessentially themselves. I just didn’t realize as adults how we need this kind of affirmation.
Try This Today:
Think about a friend or loved one and when they are “doing that thing” they do or just being quintessentially themselves. Make sure to tell them that using one of the phrases above (even if by text or written note or email.) Make sure you let them know what makes them special. Watch how they react. Post a comment and let me know how it went!