Words Can Heal


A "Best-Wishing" Hour

Parties can be a field day of back-biting gossip. Conversely, parties can also be a wonderful opportunity for using words to heal. A relaxed social setting, surrounded by friends or family, is a perfect time to express positive, strengthening feelings about the host(s) or guest(s) of honor. Taking a half hour in the middle of the party for guests to share appreciative and encouraging sentiments can turn a superficial good time into a profoundly meaningful event.

Here is an example of how a “best wishing hour” works:

Joan recently bought a condominium and is throwing a house-warming party. A mid-level corporate executive, Joan has invited co-workers, friends, and relatives. There is a bittersweet quality to the celebration. Twice divorced, Joan would prefer to live with a husband and children in a house in the suburbs.

- Half way through the party, when almost all the guests are present, Joan’s co-worker Larry clinks on his glass to get everyone’s attention. He says: “I just want to take this opportunity to express to you, Joan, how much I enjoy working with you. I admire your whole-hearted dedication to the company, and your perseverance in getting the job done, even when that requires extra hours that nobody else wants to put in. Even when we don’t agree, you have the truly wonderful quality of putting the good of the company ahead of your own ideas, and admitting that I’m right! (laughter) Seriously, in terms of putting the company first you are truly a role model for me. I hope that your new home will be the setting for many happy times for you. May you enjoy only good health and much personal fulfillment in this lovely apartment.”

- Mary takes the next turn. “If I may add my two cents. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Joan’s sister. I happen to know that this house-warming is the fulfillment of a dream Joan has cherished for years - to own her own house. Joan is someone who not only dreams, but who actualizes her dreams, with hard work and energy and an optimistic outlook. Joan has always inspired me with her ability keep moving forward, even when it hasn’t been easy. And it hasn’t always been easy. Whenever she falls down, Joan manages to pick herself up, brush herself off, and keep trekking, and that’s an amazing quality.(applause) My wish for you, Joan, may sound strange, but here it is: I wish that within the year you’ll meet your true life’s partner, get married, sell this condo at a big profit, and buy a house in the suburbs, which you’ll fill with rowdy kids, like you and I were!”

- Olivia, a friend, speaks next: “I want to mention how beautifully you’ve decorated this apartment with so many of your hand-made touches. Most of you may not realize it, but Joan made the silk flower arrangements on the dining room table and on the shelf in the kitchen. (exclamations of “beautiful” and “wow”) Something else you may not know is that Joan bought all her tablecloths and curtains at the local institute for the handicapped. She is such a devoted advocate of that place that she got me to buy $200 worth of stuff there that I didn’t even need! (laughter) My wish for you, Joan, is that this condo may be a quiet place where you can regenerate and regroup after your very exhausting work day. And may it often be filled with people who love you, as it is tonight.

Things to Keep In Mind When Toasting Your Host

Notice the essential elements of each set of remarks:

1. Express appreciation for the person’s unique qualities. Be specific. “You’re a great guy,” is a meaningless compliment. Focus in on the person’s own positive attributes, even if it takes a few minutes of thought to realize what they are. Words heal only if they come from the heart. Forget generic compliments.

2. Wish the person well in the specific way that applies to him or her. Again, forget generic wishes that you could have copied off a Hallmark card. For elderly parents celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, wishes for health and long life together are most appropriate. For a 30th birthday party, wishes for the birthday boy to actualize his potential according to his own specific interests and talents is a much better wish than a vague, “Many happy returns of the day!”

3. Let the person know how much you love and admire him or her. We all need to hear words of encouragement. Such words are the greatest gift you can bring to the party.
Source: WordsCanHeal.org

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