Love through affirmation

Originally written in 2014

Man lives by affirmation even more than he does by bread.
— Victor Hugo

The other day, I had to make three FB posts for three friends who were celebrating their birthdays on the same day. I always find it nice whenever I have to write even just a few lines about people I love, just to let them know how wonderful they are and to let other people see why they are awesome.

And then it dawned on me that I (or we, actually)  rarely do that anymore. I can wax enthusiastic about all my favorite pop culture things of the moment, but it only takes a friend’s birthday to make me eloquent about all the things I love about them. Is it easier for me to express my feelings about some fictional character rather than tell actual people that I think they’re awesome, even if there is no actual occasion? And worse, it’s much more common to complain about why so and so people are acting like this and that, rather than talk about why I am grateful for a certain person in my life.

I am speaking from experience when I say that even during my lousiest days, even just one word of appreciation or affirmation from a loved one, a friend or even just an acquaintance can immediately save my day.  You never know when one text, email, FB message or a more public FB post or tweet, saying something wonderful about your brother or sister or classmate or officemate can actually be the very thing that they need right at that moment.  And you’ve also read stories about how an unexpected word of praise actually meant saving the life of a suicidal person.

So I’m challenging myself, and you, if you feel inclined to do so, to speak private and public words of affirmation every once in a while. Or if at this very moment, you feel that you need to say thank you to a person even if he or she hasn’t done anything for you at that particular time, don’t squash that instinct; just do it. And remember, affirmation is not just for what someone has done for you or for others; it is also simply an expression of appreciation for someone just for who he or she is.