Reinforcement

“I love working with an audience.  I love working with actual people who, you know, if they’re moved, you see it.  If you say something they’re stunned by, you see their jaws drop.  If they’re amused, they laugh – that kind of reinforcement, I totally adore.”
– Jane Pauley

As an actress, I really dig the above quote.  There’s just so much truth to it.  When I’m doing a show, I know exactly how the audience feels about it.  If they like it, they’ll smile.  If I did a good job, they’ll clap.  If I was able to move them to tears, they’ll cry.

Don’t you wish it worked like in real life?

Seriously, think about it.  How much of what you feel do you keep inside?  How many chances do you let slip past to tell someone how their everyday, real life ‘performance’ is going?

I’ve been watching my daughter struggle with a very large theatre role.  She’s practically brand new to acting (only small non-speaking roles in prior shows) and has now been cast as the lead.  Now, you don’t have to be involved in theatre to know that being the lead of a show is going to carry some serious weight with it.  Especially when you’re only 13.  And even more especially when you’re a kid who is too hard on yourself like she is.  She expects perfection to come out on the first try (and I’m afraid some of the others involved expect that of her to), and she gets so down on herself when it doesn’t.  Poor kid.

But I’ve started to notice one particular person in the cast who can change her outlook around in an instant.  Appropriately enough, that person is the one who plays “Daddy Warbucks.”  (If you’re not familiar with the show, Warbucks is the one who ultimately adopts little orphan Annie in the end.)  Warbucks is played by our friend Jeff Dreyer.  And let me tell ya – Jeff is phenomenal with my daughter.  She looks forward to the rehearsals when she’s working with him because she is comfortable with him.  He’s so good to her and always tells her what a great job she is doing.  When she makes a mistake, he’s always quick with a, “You’ll get it next time,” or “Don’t be so hard on yourself – you’re doing great.”  I see what a difference this makes in her, and how much better she does after hearing this from him.

Which got me thinking.

How often do we do that for people?  How often do I do that for people?

Someone doesn’t have to be performing on a stage for them to deserve positive feedback.  So much of what those around us do in any given day sadly goes unnoticed.  Things become routine and expected, and therefore no longer outwardly appreciated.  (Every mother knows where I’m coming from, I’m sure.)

So, I want you to think about this.  Is there someone in your life who deserves some recognition?  Some appreciation?  Some verbal applause?

Well, get to it.  Give them some positive reinforcement.  Give them a pat on the back.  Thank them for what they do for you and how much they mean to you.

I’ll start by giving a little shout-out to my boyfriend, Richard.  That man is a true saint at times…especially this week.  I have been stressed to the max.  There’s no one particular huge problem or anything…just a multitude of small things that are adding up and sending me on an emotional rampage.  There have been times this week that I’ve just wanted to crawl under the covers and let the world go on without me while I take a sick day from it all.  But I can’t.  There’s too many people depending on me.  I have to get up and keep moving, whether I like it or not.

And there he is to help.

He has picked up the slack for me so much this week, I can’t even list them all.  He has made phone calls for me and run errands that I didn’t have time to run.  And through it all – through my moods, my ranting, my venting – he has listened and responded with a calm optimism that I can’t help but be influenced by, no matter how hard my stubborn self tries not to be.  I’m a very, VERY lucky girl to have this man in my life.  I hope he knows how much he is appreciated.  I hope he knows what a wonderful boyfriend he is, and how loved he makes me feel.

Good job, Richard.

So, who do you need to thank?  Who makes a difference in your world?  Who needs some applause?

Now is the time.

positive1

***

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
-Voltaire

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