The heart. What an incredible thing it is. Not only in the reason for its existence but what we as human beings weave into its meaning as well.
The subject of the heart is brought up in everything from exercise to love, loss to things we eat and about a million things in-between but when it comes to the care of our emotional heart, are we even remotely aware of what it takes to keep us operating at our optimum?
Welcome to something I have recently discovered and that is the "Four Emotional Needs of the Heart." Attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance.
I don't care who you are, I believe we all can benefit when the four things I've listed above are being honored in your life and in those lives of the people you share our planet with.
Attention - Listening to people when they talk to you. Putting the phone down. Engaging them in conversation when you see them or online if they're sharing news. A "thinking of you" text or a funny card that reminded you of them, sent. A little intentional attention can go a very long way in contributing to the "heart health" of another being.
Affection - A smile, a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back or touch on the hand are all simple ways to show affection. Touch is a beautiful thing and only one way to show affection, but it's a lovely one. Touch relays an entirely different level of interaction with someone. I'm a big "toucher." If I like you, I end up touching you. Whether out of a sense of fun or compassion, I believe touch is a beautiful, "wordless" way to show someone how much you care.
Appreciation - How many of us walk around today believing we get too much appreciation? That we're told "good job" a bit too often or "way to go" more than we wished? Yea. I'm thinking most of us would love to be told we're appreciated a little more than we are today and of course, as with anything, begin by doing it more yourself and it's amazing how more of it will be shown to you in kind. What I love about appreciation is it can be spoken or shown so easily. From a nice "I appreciate the great job you did!" directed at a server to a fun post of appreciation tossed on social media, it's an easy way to give yours as well as anothers heart a little extra juju on any given day.
And finally acceptance. Now, I had to pause at this one for a moment because acceptance to me doesn't mean that you strive for everyone to "like" or accept you because if that were the case, you would find yourself miserable way more often than not. I think acceptance means that you strive to be comfortable in your own skin. That you grow in love, honor and respect for yourself. All good things, at least in this girls mind.
So, in this new season of spring, may you make the choice to practice living more "heart smart." Not just towards others but towards yourself as well. Knowing that when we give a "piece" of anything away, a compliment, a kind word, a loving touch, a gracious gesture, we "lose" nothing of ourselves in the process. Nothing. Quite the contrary.
We have EVERYTHING to gain.