Long before I gave birth to my daughter, I remember reading something somewhere that said, “Make sure your eyes light up and all attention is on your child when she walks in the room.” I loved the idea of that and made a decision to make that one of my parenting practices.
Every day when Willow gets home from school, she gets out of the vehicle she’s in and runs to the front step. She reaches up as high as her little arm will reach and she rings the doorbell at least fifteen times. Usually, I’m sitting on my computer in view of the door so I lean my head over and she opens the door. At this point, I do what I always do — I drop everything and say, “Wiiillllooowww!” as I run to the front door to give her hugs, sit her on my knee and take her boots or shoes off. I shower her with kisses, carry her to the couch and we snuggle.
There is magic in this interaction because it is infused with excitement, appreciation, acknowledgement and love.
All too often we get numbed out to various experiences or sensations. When our partner makes us dinner for the 100th time, we may forget to say thank you. When we’ve visited New York City for the 100th time, we may not appreciate the buildings and the energy as much as we did the first time. When our assistant finishes that task for the 100th time, it may pass by our desk without acknowledgement.
When we begin to take the 100th time for granted, we lose the magic in the interaction. We miss the opportunity to connect, to motivate, to inspire, to love and to be grateful.
It has been shown that when people stop showing a level of appreciation or excitement around something that someone else did, the person who performed the action stops or pulls back on the effort immensely because there is no longer any form of gratification being received.
Although we shouldn’t necessarily look to others for our gratification, the truth is, we do — often. Having someone show us their level of pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, etc. IS gratifying and is a huge motivator for why we do the things we do for others.
I was talking to a friend recently about romantic relationships and we were surmising that romantic relationships likely lose their spark over time because one or both people involved stop acknowledging the little things. When it’s the 100th time that your partner puts on a nice dress and heels, it’s easy to forget to stand in awe of her and tell her how beautiful she looks. However, that moment is just as appreciated and needed on the 100th time as it was the 1st. I’d even go as far as to say that it’s more important as time passes.
I want to invite you to take a look at your own life and the people in it. Where might you have an opportunity to bring your whole self to a moment instead of merely showing up and appearing less than enthused? What might you be able to do, on a regular basis, to make the people around you feel seen, heard, appreciated, acknowledged, loved and thanked?
Start a practice of uninhibited excitement today. Show up, soak it up and look at your experience through fresh eyes. You won’t regret it.