Jerry Hansen offered a nugget of wisdom at a recent Old Point National Bank meeting he chaired. "Treat everyone as if they are wearing a button saying Make Me Feel Important," he suggested.
Few of us wear such a button on the outside but I suspect we all have one front and center inside.
Conventional wisdom tells us that no one can "make" us feel anything. I believe, however, that there are people we love to be around and those we'd rather avoid and our feelings correlate to how we feel about ourselves in their presence.
As we scurry to select gifts for the holidays, let's make sure they are delivered with an attitude that shows the recipient that we think they are splendid. And that really is the best part of giving. Perhaps diamonds are valued so highly because they are traditionally given with great love.
Think of the people we love the most. What face do they see?
Watching an Oprah show close to 10 years ago, I was spellbound by a program discussing a book about this very subject. The author was telling the talk show hostess how important it is to let children see how we feel about them when they walk into the room.
It struck me that, while my granddaughter, Heather, always saw my face light up, there was another little child who was contentious and did not see that expression from me. I resolved then and there to make my face show that child what Heather saw from me spontaneously. I don't have enough space here to tell you what a difference it made in my relationship with that other little girl.
Treat everyone as if they
are wearing a button saying
Make Me Feel Important.
Since that time, periodically I revisit the philosophy of showing people they are important to me and consciously review whether or not I am reflecting what I feel to the people I love and care about. Too often I fear I am reflecting only what may concern me at the moment and I don't want to do that.
When I think about each person individually who is significant in my life, I pause to consider what I am communicating to them non-verbally, which is 85% of communication. It helps me to think of the people who delight me to be around - those who always remember that my button asks them to make me feel important. I can name them easily.
I want to see the buttons everyone else wears. And then my face should say Ho, Ho, Ho.
My words say, peace be with you in this holy season.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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