Posts Tagged ‘Men expressing emotions’

How to Set the Emotional Table for Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Your flights have been paid for and now all that’s left to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday is gearing up to spend time with your relatives.

For many people this is an exciting time, and for many more it is an anxious and stressful one.  With families come emotional buttons that have been embedded for years and are visible only to a select few.  This can affect the depth and tone of how we communicate with those who have impacted our lives the most.  Add to this the expectations of having the perfect family holiday and it is no wonder Thanksgiving is often disappointing.

The essence of Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our many blessings, not the least of which are the important relationships in our lives. So could you proactively set the table for a loving and grateful holiday?  What if this may be the last Thanksgiving some of you spend together?  Regardless of your motivation, you can increase the prospects of having a most enjoyable holiday with your family by doing only one thing in advance.  Express profound gratitude.

Here are the very simple steps that will could an enormous impact on how much more relaxed you feel with loved ones.

  1. Make a list of the people you will be seeing who have made a real difference in your life.
  2. Write down bullet points of the contributions each of them have made and how it has impacted you.
  3. Express these sentiments to them – in a letter, email, call, poem, conversation, etc.

To help you in this 3-step process, download the Free Guide to Creating Your Own Gratitude Conversations by signing in at the bottom of the  website.

What better way to set the table for a relaxing and appreciative holiday than telling people how much they mean to you.  There is no need to bring up past grievances, just share what you love about them, to them and for them.  It is not who they are that matters the most, it is how they have impacted you that is the premise of these conversations.  You will be amazed at how great you feel and how easier family gatherings can be when people are in a state of gratitude.

An alternative to communicating in advance would be to plan to a one-on-one conversation with your life influencers.  If you choose this approach, make sure you have this discussion in a quiet place so that you both can get and give your full attention to each other.  You may want to record the conversation so that you can save it and savor it for the future.  Have someone take a picture of the two of you together and capture the memory of this moment.

I would love to hear how your conversations went or how expressing profound gratitude changed the tone of your Thanksgiving holiday.  Please share them either below in the Comments section or  privately by submitting them on the Share Your Story page of this website.

For more information about how to have these powerful gratitude conversations, check out my book, This is the Moment.  Consider writing a personal inscription inside the cover and presenting it as a special gift or hostess gift.

Is Your Relationship House in Order?

Friday, November 5th, 2010

We make money to feel secure and successful.

We save money to buy the house, send our children to college and retire.

When a relative gets sick is when we begin to think about trusts, wills, and executors.

As a society the primary focus has been on financial affairs.  We are urged to not only achieve financial success but to keep all these affairs organized so that in case we died there would be a roadmap that led to the details on what is owned and what is owed and the primary contacts.

We follow this traditional course in life to get our financial house in order.  Every step along this journey gives us peace of mind.  We achieve incremental goals and feel good about our accomplishments.  We strive for the brass ring and we achieve it.  Now what?

Getting your house in order and having peace of mind extends far beyond your finances.  Are there things still unsaid in your meaningful relationships?  Just as your finances need to be continuously reviewed and updated, so do your personal relationships.

It became clear to me that meaningful relationships were an important component to real peace of mind.  Exactly what does that mean?  Simply said, it means not leaving things unexpressed whether by speaking, writing or whatever with everyone that has been important to you.  It also means finding a way to save these expressions for future generations whether by letter, a digital voice recorder or even a video.

Just ask yourself these questions if you want to test your preparedness with regard to having your emotional house in order.  First question, is there anyone alive who made a profound contribution to your life that you have not adequately expressed your gratitude toward,   If so, do it.  Do not wait to be chosen to deliver a eulogy when the person is unable to hear and appreciate your gratitude.  One of the greatest benefits from my yearlong journey of gratitude was that I was able to express my deep gratitude to all, in my case 44 different people.  It was only after completing these conversations that I was able to really achieve peace of mind.

The important point is that having your financial house in order and your relationship house in order are not mutually exclusive.  They both can and need to be done to achieve the peace of mind that we ideally would like to have.

What is ironic is that our relationships are what we most value at the end of our lives.  They require far less time to nurture and maintain then one’s finances. It has to be one of life’s biggest missed opportunities that our actions are often so inconsistent with our priorities.

What will it take to put your relationship house in order?  A phone call, an afternoon together, a 44-cent stamp?

Do Tough Guys Know How to Say Thank You?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

While there is no absence of books on how men should learn to express their emotions, have you seen it first-hand?  Have you seen it more in younger generations then in older ones?

For both men and women it is a rare phenomenon to practice expressing deep gratitude to those that have made a real difference in our life while everyone is alive and well.

Here’s some both startling and encouraging news.  I just spent a year of my life traveling about the United States and even abroad to visit with those people who had made an important difference in my life so I could express my deep gratitude.  I visited with 44 people, 80% of whom were men.

During these extended conversations, not one of these men was uncomfortable receiving my heartfelt expressions of appreciation for their contributions to my life.  Just the opposite – they were touched and honored by this gift of gratitude.

“I felt it was a gift of self recognition” described one very big-time executive.

It was enlightening for me to learn that even very smart people aren’t aware what they’ve said or done has made such a difference.  The impact of my expression of gratitude was manifold.  Not only did it feel good for the person to know they had made a difference, they were more alert to the possibilities of helping others in a similar way in the future.

These relationships had been long and meaningful, averaging some 25 years.  My expressions of gratitude were neither superficial nor based on a singular event.  They were reflections on the variety of ways they had influenced me and how each had impacted my life.  Personal gifts are always appreciated.  These explicit expressions of deep gratitude is what made the gift even more special.

Although the primary focus of these dialogues was for me to express my gratitude to them, without exception they took the opportunity to reciprocate.  When they did, they realized the joy that comes from giving this deeply personal gift. Without exception, these men were very appreciative that I had “set the table” for this dialogue to happen and none of them missed the opportunity to take advantage of giving their gift of gratitude to me.

Almost all had acknowledged that they would have felt bad had something happened to one of us and those expressions would have remained unsaid. Several of these men have already further demonstrated their enthusiasm by setting up their own conversations of gratitude.

Almost everyone has experienced the sadness and regret from not having said what we would have liked before the person dies.  We think we have paid tribute and spoken to this person when we are given the opportunity to give a eulogy at a funeral but the reality is the person who most would appreciate the expressions of respect and gratitude is no longer here.

It is clear from my year long journey that men “get it” and they are very comfortable “giving it”. And I am not referring to just 30 or 40 year olds.  All ages, young and old alike.

My hope is that men and women alike will pay it forward and that expressing profound gratitude to those who have made a real difference in our lives will become usual and customary.  I am confident, based on my experience that men are more than up for it.