On the receiving side

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I've had some surprise last week: received a couple of thank you notes from some dear friends. My eyes got wet when I read those messages. It is hard to describe the power lays in the lines.

From the culture I came from (China), I hardly received any genuine recognition or compliment - traditionally, Chinese are quite reserved in showing our opinions or feelings. Sadly when I grew up, I knew clearly what's wrong as I did get punished, but I hardly got to know what value I created... Yes I have many close friends and we do things for each other, but again in Chinese culture - we do not often tell our friends how much we appreciate each other as it is 'assumed'.  And sure, we receive thanks every day from people around us and many of them are genuine, but they are quite generic for me to understand what difference I have made. 

When I look back, actually I can vividly remember some of the few thanks that I have received: in junior school my best friend wrote a letter to me and thanked me to always cared for her - holding an umbrella in the rain, defending her against others, listening to her troubles; In university, I received an email right after my birthday from an old good friend who counted our memories and thanked me for being in his life; on my eighteenth birthday, my father bought me flowers and said to me that he was thankful for me being his daughter; my ex-boyfriend thanked me for taking care of him when he was drunk; my ex-boss thanked me for being a motivation for the team... Yes I can remember them, and some exact words.

I was hugely touched by the notes that I received last week. They were not generic thank you, but both went through specific moments and actions, and both were written with such genuine heart. They have made a big difference to me: they drove some of the doubts away and helped me to be more confident in being myself, they become my own power in pursuing what I believe in, they made me be more cautious of my actions and encourage me to do more for others, and they've reminded me of the foundations of our great friendship and brought us closer together. And, they just made me understand more how much power there is in expressing appreciation. I sincerely thank my friends who sent me those notes, and I endeavour to let my friends and family know how much they are valued by me.

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