“taking in” the good!

a sweet yearbook entry

When I was in high school, at the end of the year, buying yearbooks and having kids sign them was a really big deal….maybe it still is. It seemed to me that I was running around trying to get the popular girls and boys to sign it….as if their saying something nice would elevated me in status.

I recently opened a yearbook from 1969 and found this entry written to me, a 9th grader,  “To the sweetest little gal all the luck and happiness in the world. AFA Pat”. I don’t remember ever reading this before.

I didn’t think that there was anything sweet about me….did not believe it when someone wrote a positive comment, so I never really took these in. I don’t remember much about Pat MacNeil but she looks like such a nice person…and isn’t, “the sweetest little gal”, such a nice thing to say?!

I wonder how my life would have been different if I had believed the good and remembered that? …if I had paused and really read this comment after she wrote it and handed me back my yearbook.

42 years later I am wondering what Pat MacNeil saw in me…I really like the thought of seeing myself differently…through the eyes of someone who obviously didn’t have any agenda but to say a kind word to a kid in school.

So thank you Pat. Starting today, I am going to open my arms and receive the good. I am going to pause, the next time I get a compliment, and really take it in, absorb it….appreciate seeing myself through the positive lens of another.

10 thoughts on ““taking in” the good!”

  1. Oh how I needed this reminder. Thank you, Mary, for the message that we need to choose to receive the good things in life.


  2. Love that…we so “weren’t validated” often in our growing up years.
    And what a difference it would have meant.
    I try now to be more validating with everyone….focus on them….whether they are caring for Mom at the nursing home or just someone in a restaurant/store. We never know when a positive word will make a difference…and it can mean so much.
    I’ve always liked the saying: “The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.”
    Keep on keeping on. Enjoy your thoughts!

  3. Thanks so much for this Mary. Well said. This is a topic that takes a lot of work for me. Something about how I was raised trained me to be quiet, go as unnoticed as possible and not to dwell on compliments. I was never going to be popular, or beautiful or good at anything. Because it was selfish maybe? Who knows?! I don’t fully understand the mind set behind raising children that way but both my mother and her mother were very severe this way, mostly with the girls. Maybe a generational thing? Growing up I went from being quiet and shy to rebellious and mad to depressed and sad. But I’m happy to say now, in my 50’s and after many years of working at nurturing the child within, I fully appreciate it when someone gives me a compliment. Guilt free!

  4. Hi Mary,

    You have taught me so much about “receiving”. It does take practice. I’m always surprised how people view me. I think it’s hard to see yourself fairly & with appreciation.
    Like Karen, I try to validate others, if only in small ways.

  5. Okay, Mary, open your arms and pause. I have been following your writing for only a short time, and yet two things you have said have had a positive effect for me. One was the instruction about the good which could result from simply smiling, and second, being open to nice comments. I practice the first several times a day and have the opportunity to experience the second not so often, but I am prepared.

    1. Hi Ed,
      I just read this email and am pausing to take in your kind words….thank you!!
      Very best,

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