Saturday, June 13, 2009

11 Little Words

The 11 most important words we can say in our relationships are:

"Please forgive me."
"I forgive you."
"Thank you."
"I love you."

This marvelous concept comes from the book of Ira Byock, M.D., "The Four Things That Matter Most." I came across the book while searching for another in my bookcase (one of many in the house) - something I picked up a few years ago and never read. The book's message is totally applicable to what is going on in my life right now so maybe it is better that it sat on the shelf until now. I can better appreciate and incorporate its message.

The author promotes being mindful of forgiveness, gratitude, affection and love on a daily basis, not just when we want to make amends or deal with conflicts. He proposes that in saying these words regularly, we'll avoid creating misunderstandings and long-standing resentments within our relationships. And saying them in times of conflict will help heal wounds and allow people to move on.

Reading the book inspired me to try and live a life where I am conscious of these qualities everyday! It is important that we tell people we love them and not expect them to just assume our feelings. It always feels so good to hear those words, and I continue to believe that all of us need to say it much more!

I remember asking for my husband's forgiveness while standing on the driveway of our home as I helped him into the car for his last journey to the hospital. I just blurted out that I was sorry for ANYTHING I had ever done in the marriage that hurt him; for any act of unkindness I had inflicted. My husband didn't really acknowledge my words nor did he offer any kind of apology to me (which would have been nice to have heard). He was not a man willing to look at or admit his faults and it was difficult for him to apologize. I am also sure that his physical and psychological pain that he was experiencing did not lend itself to the healing moment I was after. But after he had died I was glad I had said those words to him.

All of us are human - we hurt each other, say insensitive things, are impatient, demanding, critical and rude. Especially to the ones closest to us and those we love the most. Keeping these 11 words in focus is a small way to counteract our humanness. I wonder if I should ask my ex-husband for forgiveness? There is still such a gaping hole of incompleteness in regard to that relationship. As Byock writes, "It is no surprise then that forgiveness is so often at the heart of completing relationships and finding peace."

Today I am grateful:

1. For the pleasure of experiencing a cool morning with time to spend listening to the rain fall while lying under warm, cozy covers.
2. For rainy days that force you to slow down, catch up on little details and relax a bit.
3. For the store clerks who have become familiar with you over the years and know you by name and ask how you are doing.
4. For classic Land's End Oxford shirts that never go out of style and last forever.
5. For being able to walk, stand and physically tolerate the demands of my cashiering job.

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