The Best Way To Thank Someone
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
During this past week, I met a new person every day. The special part about it was that each conversation ended with a hug. Thinking about what made these encounters special, I realize that the reasons why they ended with a hug were because:
1. Our values aligned
With a wellness consultant I met, we found that we were nodding along to what the other person was saying. We had similar interests, highly valued our health, and were curious to learn from one another.
2. Gratitude and love
For the friend whose photography exhibit I attended, we hugged because we were both grateful for one another. She was happy I came to attend her exhibit, support her work, and give her encouragement. Whereas, I was so honoured to see her photography, be among the great people at the event, and was touched by the stories she told us about the photographs which brought the images to life.
3. Sharing a vulnerable story
A lady I met this week shared the story of her mother’s passing away with me. She told me how she now views life differently, how it inspired her to live more fully and go on a recent yoga retreat in South America, and how it motivated her to fundraise and complete the 32 kilometre Run For The Cure last weekend.
I attended an incredible yoga class this week. The teacher had a great style of teaching, explained subtle nuances in each pose, and went slowly enough to help each person adjust and modify according to their needs. She also shared inspiring messages throughout her class, and her message that day of staying committed to goals, resonated deeply with me as it was something I was struggling with that day. After class, I went and spoke with her to thank her and commend her on her teaching style. It turns out that she left the corporate world, started teaching yoga recently, and even offered to help mentor and guide me in my own journey towards becoming a yoga teacher. She is an ambitious, like-minded person, who is passionate about living to her fullest potential and creating good for others; all reasons which inspired me and made it so easy to give her a hug.
5. Space and time to be heard
I ran into a high school classmate last week on the train a few weeks ago, and we met for a coffee this past week. We caught up on one another’s lives, shared difficult things we had gone through, and what we had learned. We opened up, were honest, and showed compassion for one another’s story. We spoke about our perspectives on life, love, and everything in between. The chat at the coffee shop lasted over 4 hours, and it seemed like we had been speaking continuously the entire time. The kind of conversation we had was incredible after all these years of not being in touch simply because it made us feel heard, supported, and appreciated.
These are some of the reasons I gave and received hugs this week. But the truth is, I knew I wanted to hug the person before we reached the end of the conversation.
I found that at some point into the conversation my heart began to warm, my breathing slowed down, and happiness started flowing through my veins. At this moment, I was connecting with the other person and they were connecting with me. The words we were speaking were no longer as important as the energies that were passing between our hearts.
I have a feeling this doesn’t just happen in me; that is, having a moment of connection when you know the other person has somehow touched your life with their presence.
Most of the time when I meet people, I usually end the conversation with a handshake, a goodbye, or the occasional awkward backing away and leaving (we’re all guilty of this sometimes). But in encounters of the kind I had this past week, I honour the connection I am having with the person, build the courage to be vulnerable, and ask to give them a hug at the end of the conversation.
For me, just like the energy settling into the body in the corpse pose after a yoga class, a hug closes off the energy of a special conversation. It allows two people to make physical contact, and transmit the warmth that has built up in their hearts to one another. This feeling of warmth can’t be described with words, but is something that carries on with each person in their hearts forever.
This next week, who can you thank with a hug?