I’ve just arrived back from America where I was attending the wedding of a very good friend, and because I was the Best Man I had to give a speech. Now, I’m used to public speaking and facilitating large groups of people in my personal development workshops, so you might be thinking this was a doddle for me. Well how wrong you'd be my friend!

What made this different for me was the level of thought I found myself giving to the meaning of my friendship with the groom and having to put into words some emotional stuff that I found difficult to explain.

My original intention was to just spend about 10 minutes taking the rise out of him (and you’ll be glad to know that I did fit this in, to great delight of me and the other guests) but I also understood that this would be a powerful opportunity to reflect on the many years we had been close mates, and to analyse why his friendship is so important to me. What surprised me was realising just how many experiences we had been though together. There have been a lot of good times but also a few low points too and as I thought about it, it became clear to me how incredibly grateful I am that he had been there to support me through some of the most challenging of times.

Of course I had always been vaguely aware of this but is was suddenly now apparent that I had never actually told him. In fact there were many things I’d never told him about what I appreciated in our relationship: How I get inspired when he talks about his goals; How he dutifully listens to all my crazy plans and encourages me to follow through; how he can cheer me up regardless of what mood I am in; his generosity; the weird sense of humour we share; his honest (even though it can often be blunt), and much more.

So when it came to making the speech I made sure I told him all of this, and it was quite an emotional affair. We usually spend our time thinking of new ways to make fun of each other, but there I was delivering a list of his best qualities and with a lump in my throat! And the best part was his reaction. He was obviously moved by what I had said and I got a sense that our friendship had just become a little richer as a result.

One of the deepest human desires is to feel appreciated, and the nicest way to receive this kind of validation is by hearing it from someone else. It’s one thing to think of yourself as being a good friend, but it is when others pay tribute to you that it really touches your soul.

Think about your own relationships. What is it that you really value about those closest to you? Ask yourself, do they know exactly how you feel or have you been making an assumption that they do? You can immediately strengthen the bond in any relationship simply by telling that person that you are thankful for them being in your life and then listing the reasons why. This is such a simple thing to do but sadly not practiced nearly enough.

I have now made a promise to myself that I will reaffirm my gratitude to my friends and loved ones on a regular basis. If you want to do the same but have trouble knowing what to say, consider what you would want to tell them if you knew this was the last time you’d ever see them again. How have they influenced you as a person? What are their top three qualities? What would your life be like today if you never knew them?

A nice little payoff for getting in the habit of do this is that you are likely to get some positive feedback too! Obviously it should not be you intention to fish for compliments but it’s always good to know where you’re doing a good job, isn’t it? I know that when friends and family tell me what they love about me it encourages me to more of it and I get to feel great about myself for the difference I’m making to them. The key to a fulfilling life is to simply feel good, there is nothing more complicated to it, so why not help yourself by making others feel appreciated? Win Win!

Author's Bio: 

Paul Dalton is a Hypnotherapist and Personal Development Coach / Trainer with bags of experience in helping people change their lives for the better, combining skills from: hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, life coaching, leadership effectiveness, metaphysics, motivation techniques, and more.

Paul is also the proud creator of www.Life-Happens.co.uk - a Personal Development resource website for everyone interested in the fields of human potential, self-improvement and positive living.

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