THE LETTER OF APPRECIATION
AND ITS INCREDIBLE IMPACT
This is one of the most valuable things you can do for another - and for yourself.
MY LETTER TO MY DAD AND MY GOOD FEELINGS AROUND IT
When I was 23, which is hard for me to believe, I wrote a letter to my Dad fully acknowledging him for having raised his sons and daughter to do so well in life, pointing out that, while our achievements were important, it was most meaningful to me that he taught us wonderful values.
A few years back, my Dad’s widow sent me the note with a letter attached, saying “your Dad kept this in the middle drawer of his desk at home and used to take it out every once in a while and read it…”
(Most people go through their lives never having received a full and complete acknowledgement and appreciation for who they are.)
HAPPINESS AND THE LETTER OF APPRECIATION
Martin Seligman, in his seminal book Authentic Happiness, urges us to write letters of appreciation to someone who means alot to us.
And it turns out that even writing a not-so-elaborate letter, even to someone not so close, may end up being the most valued treasure for the person who receives it - since it is unlikely to have much competition.
Make a practice of doing some version of this, at least, once a month.
It turns out that making others feel good makes us feel good - and it is one of the highest impact happiness activities you can do.
Another example, written by a person who is on a growth path, who got a bit sensitive about being kept waiting by her doctor. I myself was touched and inspired by her email to him.
"I'm afraid it is I who must make an apology. In spite of a lot of personal growth with the increased Lexapro, I periodically will still have stressful days like yesterday and ultimately end up really distorting reality...... start thinking I am being slighted....have thoughts that others are regarding me as "less worthy"......end up being controlling and demanding re another's behavior.
I am very sorry that I "got triggered" -- and it is strictly my issue. You are a great physician and I would never consider going to another doc. Of course there will be times when I must wait since urgent situations do arise in a medical practice. (Duh!!) And as one who has been on the receiving end a couple of times, you really couldn't do much better!
I am really sorry I lost it amd I thank you for handling it in the very gracious way that you did. This personalizing of another's behavior has got to go...and no one should feel they have to walk on eggshells around me!
Also thank you for the very thorough and reassuring lab assessment and recommendations.....especially when you were also trying to provide a good learning experience for the young intern."