** I wrote this when I started this blog and wanted to repost, because of all the thoughtful, heartfelt comments, personal emails and letters I received on my birthday last week. Taking the time to write (in a sincere manner) to others, I believe, can have a profound effect. That said, I am guilty of not doing it enough myself. I obviously like to write; I just need to direct that effort towards others more often.
There is something so unexpected and enjoyable, especially in today’s digital age, when you receive a hand-written note. My mother excels at writing gracious, heart-felt thank you’s that I look forward to, and postcards from my older daughter in the summer from the remote hiking areas she goes to are a treat, not only because I’m relieved she’s actually ok and having fun, but they, like most well-written notes bring out nuanced traits of her personality that I don’t get in conversation. Words, chosen wisely, can delight.
But what about putting as much thought and effort into the emails you write? Most of us are so pressed for time these days, that the act of responding to all your necessary emails is a feat in itself. But lately, I’ve received a few unexpected emails from customers and aquaintances that made my day. The emails were thoughtful, introspective and kind and showed time and effort. In fact, I asked one of those email writers, Julia Leach, about her practice of writing gracious notes like those I enjoy finding in my inbox. “I think my email style reflects my appreciation for the written word as well as my commitment to kindness/respect during a time when both seem to continually decline in our everyday lives and social/business communication,” Julia says. “Perhaps more poetically, ‘utile dulci’, communicating in a way that makes the useful enjoyable, is my guide.”
Julia’s thoughts and emails (along with others) made me realize how little energy I put into the communication of people I like and respect. So I’m trying to change course. Every email doesn’t need to be belles-lettres material; sometimes all I want from someone, or need to send, is a two sentence reply. But on occasion, I’m going to treat an email like a hand-written note—to think long and hard before I put fingers to keyboard, to be expressive, respectful, and thoughtful. And to hopefully on occasion delight.