Let a notebook help you take notice
My first column was a “heart to heart” greeting back in February 2011. Next year’s theme encouraged a “love hearted” life, followed by a message about cherishing your heart. Last year’s expose was on Billboard’s top love songs throughout the years. By the time you read this, Valentine’s Day will be in full swing or close to it. So, what happens after the big “hearts” day? How can we keep the spirit of love alive beyond February 14th? Maybe Angela Maiers has a suggestion.
In a TEDx talk, Maiers tells how two words can change our heart, change our lives, and change our world. They are: “You matter.” A passion for those two words inspired her nonprofit, Choose2Matter. In her view, “one of the most dangerous things that can happen to us as an individual, an organization, a community is the feeling that we don’t matter.” Maiers takes a cue from the movie Avatar when the Na’vi greeted one another with the phrase, “I see you” suggesting that we write down things we notice about others to help us “truly see them.”
Doing this amongst students at a school, they became curious about what she was writing in the notebook. When they asked her, she told them she wrote about their genius. At one school, students began carrying their own notebooks and jotted down what they noticed. The results? Students realized they mattered and that their actions counted. “Lives, learning and worlds changed forever.”
Holidays generate excitement, celebratory events, and acknowledgement of each other with cards and gifts. It’s a loving thing to do. And, in one way or another, we are noticing them. What Maiers speaks to is a practice that’s more ongoing and more widespread. How often do we let people who aren’t as close know that we notice them? That we see them? That they matter?
I like the idea of a “notice notebook.” It’s tangible. It’s kinetic. It’s a great tool for helping us stay on track with a desire to be more attentive. Isn’t that what love is all about? Isn’t that what we are saying with our Valentine sentiments?
This year’s hearts day is a perfect time to launch a “you matter” campaign of your own. Sprinkle “Valentines” every day to others simply by noticing AND letting them know they matter—with a “thank you,” a smile, a tip of the hat, a helping hand. Tell people you hear them. Understand them. Appreciate them. That’s what matters. See where your heart takes you and possibly see the art of loving from a new perspective.