If you know me, I love cards! I love to buy them, send them, and receive them! To me, a card or handwritten note says everything.
Don't get me wrong, I love the convenience of texts and emails, and there's nothing that can replace hearing the sound of someone's voice that you really care about. Still, there's just something about dropping a note in the mailbox and connecting with "your person" whether they're five minutes away or 1500 miles away (like many of my favorite humans!).
If you're guessing that my Love Language is "Words of Affirmation," you're right! I love receiving encouraging words, and I love giving them. When I was in elementary school, my mom was the mom who always wrote a cute note on my napkin in my lunch. The message often included some type of drawing, too, like one of me in my "Campfire Girl" uniform on the days I had "Campfire" after school with my friends. These were not just tiny scribbles done with a ballpoint pen; these were red flair-pen-napkin-sized portraits. I can remember a few times even being a bit embarrassed when I pulled my napkin out around my friends, but now I think back to those times and realize how good it really made me feel to know that my mom cared enough about me to take a few extra minutes to jot that note! Sometimes those little notes and pictures were enough to turn a day around!
“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.” – Unknown
I lost my mom 13 years ago, but thinking about those red notes and drawings still warms my heart. I do this with my kids, too, as they live pretty far away from me. Not notes in their lunches (as they are super responsible adults now, making their own lunches), but I send them cards and letters regularly to let them know I'm thinking of them, I love them, I'm proud of them, and I'll always be there for them. Just maybe they'll arrive at the right time to help turn a bad day around or make a good day great!
Relationships are an important factor in our overall health
When I talk to people about health and wellness, one of the most important contributors to our overall well-being is our relationships, including family and friends. To be happy and healthy, we need enduring, intimate bonds with other people. We need to feel a sense of belonging with the people to feel joy. We need to get support from others, and we need to give support to have positive relationships that can help ultimately impact our health. For me, and maybe some of you, offering words of love, encouragement is a way to support the people I love and care about. Friends can help you live a healthier and longer life, too. Your friendships require you to make an effort, even though you might feel like you hardly have time to accomplish all of your other "to-dos." So, if friends can help us live longer, why do women spend more time comparing ourselves to other women than encouraging and supporting them? (That whole comparison thing is another topic that we'll get to another day!) Just something to think about! Investing time in your friendships can sometimes bring as much benefit to your overall health as that time on the treadmill, trying to burn another 300 calories! Dropping a note of encouragement in the mailbox is a simple way to strengthen our friendships, even those that are far away.
We feel better when we lift someone else
On Monday mornings, when I plan my week, I've made it a habit to write down two or three names of friends who will be receiving a card or note from me that week. This might be a note of congratulations for something cool going on with them, a note of encouragement if they're currently dealing with something difficult, or even just a note to let them know I'm thinking about them. Now "Words of Affirmation" may not be their love language, but it feels good for me to think about them and all of the qualities I love in them as I write. So these good feelings bring me happiness even if a card from me really doesn't rock their world (unless, of course, their Love Language is "Words of Affirmation" too)!
To widen the circle of health, I'd like to encourage you to encourage someone else; a BFF, a family member, or even someone you're only now getting to know. You'll be amazed at how good you feel, learning how they feel receiving your note amid coupons, brochures, and junk they usually find in their mailbox.
Today is a good day to make someone else feel good
Warning…..here comes a plug for someone I'm incredibly proud of….my beautiful and creative daughter, Sammy Travis. She owns her own paper company and creates the most beautiful, fun, and unique handmade cards! (Grandma would be so proud too!) There's something extra special about sending a handmade card, but a handmade card from me would not "appear" too impressive since I was not blessed with Sammy's creative gene. She received that gene from my sister, who I also love dearly! (They're actually like two peas in a pod, and I'm 100% OK with that because I love them both!) You can find Sammy's creations on her site sammystationery.com (just the name makes me smile).
Go send a note of encouragement and email me to let me know how much healthier you feel, and don't be surprised if you make your friend's day at the same time!