“Surround yourself with people who feel like sunshine.” I don’t know who wrote it, but it’s good. It elicits warm and pleasurable emotions, right? It’s winter in South Africa, and some parts of our gorgeous country get really cold at this time of the year. (Really cold.) Not where we live though. We complain that it’s cold, but really it’s not. It’s warm enough to put your feet in the ocean, and to wear flip-flops. That’s not cold. Compared to our very warm, very humid, long summers – it is chilly.
When I read this quote, it resonated with me because the last 2 months have presented many opportunities for me to spend time with a wide array of people. I’ve done a lot of local travel, and so I’ve connected with more people across more cities than I have done for some time. Here are some of my reflections:
- Celebrate and appreciate the long standing, truly authentic, inspirational and enjoyable relationships that you have cultivated over years and years. (Note the word ‘cultivated’, which indicates that there has been a deliberate effort to deepen these relationships.)
- Make sure people know how much you value them, and do so authentically and honestly.
- Don’t be too quick to judge others. You never know what people have overcome in order to get where they are today. If nothing else, learn from them.
- There is little value investing in relationships with people who don’t lift you up, who don’t have any interest in you and your life, and even less interest in sharing anything about their life with you. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have a wide network of acquaintances because you have a meaningful group of friends.
As much as this post is about appreciating those around us who are like sunshine in our lives, it is also important to be the sunshine. I want nothing more than to make people feel better for having spent time with me. And I don’t mean being silly or making people laugh, which is okay too. In this instance, I mean genuinely making people feel welcome, being visibly pleased to spend time with them, acknowledging them, expressing gratitude for what they have taught you, being willing to share of yourself. All with zero expectation of anything in return.
Try to leave others with something unique, from you. A feeling. I know that means the world to me. To be seen…
Photos taken by Alison in Durban, South Africa. July 2019