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Updated: Jul 21
Think for a moment about the people that have made a positive impact on your life. There are definitely people who have affected us negatively, but leave them aside for now. We probably think about those people too often, anyway.
Stop reading and really reflect on the positive ones. Make a mental list. I’ll wait….
Still waiting because you aren’t really doing it.
Seriously. Do it.
You probably have five to ten people you thought of. Who are they? What role did they play in your life and development? It must have been pretty big if they’re on your List.
Big question now: Have you ever taken the time to thank them? We are so quick to point out the flaws and problems we see around us; what if we all took a moment to concentrate on the good we see in others and thank them for shining their light on us?
Several Veteran Sabre fencers did this for me shortly after Summer Nationals. Out of the blue, I received messages on Facebook telling me what an impact I’ve had on them. It meant the world to me. I still think about those words and, if I’m being honest, have reread them several times because it felt so good.
We all need to feel appreciated and loved. We want to know we’re making a positive impact on others. The best way to start feeling that way ourselves is to first appreciate and love those who do good things for us. Gratitude isn’t an easy emotion like love or anger. It’s not a knee jerk reaction. It takes some real thought and effort.
If you have made it to this point, I figure you’re pretty invested in what you’re feeling for some very special people. I challenge you to write to at least three of them. Tell them what you love about them and what they have done to positively impact your life. You need to write to them so they can read and reread those words as many times as they need to.
That gratitude will reflect joy and comfort back to you. Joy from the memories you share with this person. Comfort from knowing you’re not alone and that there are people who really care about you.
If you’re so inclined, give a shout-out to those people in the comments below. Or just list them. Let’s trumpet some good out into this world of ours.
I’ve been a teacher too long to think I can give an assignment without an example of what I’m looking for, so here’s a letter to my amazing husband, David:
To my incredible husband,
Let me start first by saying how much I love you. Everything about you. Your sly wit, the boyish twinkle in your eye, how smart you are. I love how you make me coffee in the morning—it never tastes as good when I make it (probably because I can’t figure out the proper stirring technique or water to grounds ratio–and how you read things you find funny or interesting online to me. I love how passionate you are about whatever you’re doing and how you throw yourself into it wholeheartedly. I love how you’re not afraid to be yourself and to speak up for the things you care about. I love how your eyes light up when you see me after we’ve been apart for a while. You make me feel like the most important person on the planet at that moment.
You’re such a hard worker. We’ve had a lot of challenges at the new location and you’ve met them all head on. I am amazed at your perseverance and in awe of your determination to build a club we can all be proud of. There were several times earlier this year when we could have given up but you kept grinding along, keeping me trotting alongside you. Sometimes I feel like I can barely keep up 🙂
You work tirelessly at making the people around you better. You have helped build the good reputation of the Region 5 referee cadre and you are admired for your mentorship at local, regional, and national tournaments. You help put on some of the best tournaments in the country and it’s thanks to you that the ROC circuit exists. Fencing in the US literally would not be the same without you. And the SabreCats wouldn’t be the same without their Fencing Papa.
I wouldn’t have achieved the level I have in both competition and coaching without your guidance and encouragement. Thank you for all you have given to me; I would not have the self-confidence and grit that I do today without you standing by my side, kicking me into gear when necessary and cheering when I make it to the goal.
You have made an impact on so many. And you’ll continue to do so. It’s not in your nature to give up on anyone or anything. Thank you, Maestro, for all you have done for Fencing. Thank you, SB, for being such a great husband and friend.
I love you.