Another Leave Nothing Unsaid Workshop was drawing to a close. And, once again, my heart was overflowing with joy. The evening’s event had been hosted by a leading Atlanta financial advisor. The guests had enjoyed a lovely dinner and were now putting the finishing touches on affirming letters to loved ones. Through the Leave Nothing Unsaid process, they’d learned an easy-to-repeat approach to writing words that would matter forever.
The positive energy in the room was palpable.
Through the partition in the well-appointed business club, enthusiastic applause could be heard from another group.
One of our participants, a retired medical doctor, spoke up.“That’s what we’re all doing in our hearts right now!”
I smiled and waited, not wanting to make presumptions about what he was trying to express.
With tears in his eyes, he continued:“I can’t believe Merrill Lynch did this for us.”
Was this an anomaly? An unexpected response from a sentimental soul?
Not at all! I’ve come to realize the amazing sense of joy that most letter writers experience after finally being able to unlock their hearts to someone they dearly love. The same sentiments are expressed time and again by the letter writers, whether someone who is healthy or in the final stages of hospice care.
So if you’re secretly wondering “WIFM” (What’s in it for me?) when you think about writing a special letter, please read on.
Here are a few of the benefits:
- Living without regrets: Recently, a woman wrote to tell me about the letter she had written to her mother shortly before her mother's death: "As much as I know it meant the world to her, it is a decision I made that continues to give ME peace, joy and comfort every day especially now that she is gone. It's one of the greatest gifts I've ever given myself!" Have you ever lost someone unexpectedly and missed the opportunity to fully express what they meant to you? Or wished you had a letter from a loved one who had died? When there is no chance for a “do-over,” the regrets are deep and lasting. And what an incredible sense of peace that you, too, will have after giving a heartfelt letter to someone who is dear to you.
- Experiencing the delight of fresh, green growth: Just as we enjoy seeing bright green leaves emerge each Spring, we cherish seeing loved ones grow and thrive. Often, a person can’t see their own strengths and potential. But our affirming words might give the letter recipient the awakening they need to develop hidden potential. A deep sense of fulfillment comes from knowing that your encouraging words made a difference in the trajectory of another's life.
- Having the time and space to find the right words: Let’s face it. Expressing our hearts effectively is hard to do in the midst of a conversation. The right words often escape us and it can feel awkward to verbalize our deepest feelings. Writing a letter gives us time to think, to reflect, and to ensure that our words are on target.
- Expressing your love in a lasting way: So often, we take the easy way out. Yes, text messages are quick and immediate. But text messages also disappear with time. Giving a simple but meaningful letter that can be read and re-read provides a much greater likelihood that your message will really be remembered. Don’t you want that?
- Investing time and treasure in something priceless: Think about how much time and money you spend planning a vacation or a wedding or shopping for Christmas gifts. Now think about the costs and lasting benefits of writing a letter. And if you feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, please order a copy of Leave Nothing Unsaid. Then, as Nike says: “Just Do It!”
“WIFM”, you ask? More than you can ever imagine!