My brother just got married. I sobbed my way through the whole thing.
In the writing of my speech I got to reflect on not only what it’s like to have a big brother, but what’s it’s like to have HIM as a big brother. Our relationship is and always has been exceptionally close and it’s something that neither of us take for granted.
On more than one occasion he’s called me up to say something really important. Sometimes these calls come out of the blue and sometimes they come right after we’ve hung up after a quick and not-so-present chat. They go something like this…
“I was just thinking, just in case something tragic happens, just in case this is the last time we get to talk to each other, I don’t want it to be some half-present conversation about nothing. I love you, you’re so important to me.”
And then I cry.
But then we both know. No one’s left wondering. No one’s left it unsaid. No potential for regretting not opening and sharing what’s really in the heart. It’s often after tragedy that we are shocked awake and broken open. But after marinating in the thick love of the most important wedding I’ve attended, I thought I’d offer you a practice that shares the deep love that’s there in your heart with the people who are here in your life.
Inspired by my bro, let’s love people the way he loves people.
Practice: For the next week, every day, at least once per day, share with someone in your life how you feel about them as you may on a special occasion or as if it was your last chance.
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be heavy or dramatic. It can actually be as easy as bringing a little more presence and appreciation when you speak. Here are some scripts for inspiration…
“Hey, you know that thing you do all the time? (Like the dishes or taking my call when you’re busy, or always lighting up and giving me a big hug when you see me.) I want you to know how much I appreciate it.”
“I’m so grateful for you. Truly.”
“It’s important to me that you know that I notice all the little things you do, for me and for others, and I so appreciate it. Oh, and all those things that I don’t notice, thanks for those too. I love you.”
“Having you in my life really helps keep me grounded and you need to know that it makes such a difference.”
“I may not express how I feel a lot. But please know, my love and appreciation for you are massive.”
“Thank you.” (with solid eye contact.)
“I love you.” With touch.
Or hey, you can steal my brother’s line. That’ll get them going.
Reflection. After doing this for a week, here are some questions to reflect on. They may help to ground awareness and also see what’s shifting in you as you work this expression.
- What am I noticing is opening up in my own emotional self as I express love and appreciation with more fullness?
- What fears or concerns swirl within me as I work to express more love and appreciation than I’m used to?
- What am I noticing in the responses of others?
- What do the responses of others activate or inspire in me?
- What helps me to stay in the intimacy of expressing what’s in my heart even in the face of fear or discomfort?
May your relationships be nourishing and rich with love.