Share the Love
Week 1 of the 'The Great Wake Up!'
The first week of the 'The Great Wake Up!' experiment and I am going to be telling one person each day what I love about them. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, for most people it probably is, but not for me. You see, I am one of the most reserved and least expressive people that you are ever likely to meet. The thought of sitting down and telling someone why I think they are great feels so awkward and unnatural to me that it fills me with dread. Think I'm exaggerating? I'm really not.
But this was all about getting me out of my comfort zone and helping me connect with others so I wanted to give it a go. And I couldn't fall at the very first hurdle could I? I might be awkward and clumsy with words, but at the same time I'm very competitive with myself. I would not be defeated by this! Besides what's the worse that can happen? Argh!!
I decided to start with an easy audience - my eleven year old nephew. Whilst doing a jigsaw puzzle together I told him that I loved how helpful and hardworking he is. His response? He cheekily asked 'Does that mean I can have an early Christmas present?' Not quite the response I was expecting, but it made me smile nonetheless, a theme that I started to notice each time I shared the love.
After that I decided to go a little easier on myself and to share my thoughts firstly by text, then in a group situation and finally the most difficult one, on a one-to-one basis. Unbelievably, I achieved each one of these and this is what I learned:
1. Keep it real - although this was part of an experiment, I wanted what I said to be genuine. I wanted to choose the other person(s) carefully and to say what I really felt. This made it a lot easier for me as I knew that I was simply speaking the truth.
2. Look for the opportunities - rather than start a specific conversation for this purpose (which I was doing at first) it felt so much more natural to slip it into a discussion when the moment arose.
3. Find a way that works for me - it was really important that it felt right for me and, when it was, it went so much better. For me I found that I could more easily express myself in writing and, as I'm quite a reflective person, this seems a much better approach for me going forward.
4. I got a lot out of it too - in most cases, telling others the things I loved about them opened up a two-way conversation and I got to hear some lovely things about myself. Although this wasn't the reason I was doing it, it was a lovely by-product of this experiment.
5. I generally felt more positive - I found that my approach and attitude was much more positive, because I knew that at some point I wanted to say this really nice thing. I wanted to make sure that I got it across properly, so I found myself paying much more attention to all the great qualities the other person(s) had.
So the result of my first experiment has been successful. I have pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone whilst discovering the benefits of opening up and telling others what I love about them. But for me, one of the key factors in the success of this experiment has been in finding a way to do this that fits with me and my personality.