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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

You Sweeten Me

There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity. Nathaniel Branden

It is funny the things you remember, especially when you miss someone who has passed away. My mom loved music and she loved to dance. Some of the best dance music, even if you don’t know how to dance is soca music. We have all heard it and know as long as you can keep that two-step going, the music will do the rest. My mom loved The Merrymen, a quartet from Barbados and one of her favorite songs was “You Sweeten Me”. As I was looking up the actual lyrics, I realize that this was definitely a love song, but growing up it was a phrase that indicated that you delighted the people around you in a non-physical way. To tell you the truth the verse that I remember the most is the “lalalalala” version. You can look up the words and I am sure several videos after you read the post.

So my question to you is, do you have people that sweeten you (encourage you, make you smile, brighten your day)? I hope these examples will encourage you to be that person. I have shared with you that I have been the dance leader for my church for several years. We started as an adult troupe, but then added several young ladies. The actual dance typically became the least important part of the instruction. Now that the earlier dancers are adults with families of their own, the time and love we shared working through those routines are very pleasant memories.

There was one particular dancer that was new to our church and to the dance ministry. As a teenager, sometimes it is awkward to fit into a group that has been together for a long time. I don’t know what she expected, but her mother insisted that she dance so she came to practice, under protest. Everyone would be standing up, engaged, working on learning the moves. My new dancer would stand very defiant that she was only doing this because her mom was making her. This was a great opportunity to show my girls how everyone is worth loving, no matter how disagreeable they are acting - a breathing living example of mercy. I would take my new dancer to the side show her the moves and work with her. I would also kiss her face, rub her back and encourage her and before long she realized she could do it and that the group was looking forward to having her. It wasn’t long before she looked forward to joining us and was among the alums that showed up to rehearse for our alumni dance this February. We have a wonderful love connection.

I take this same approach into the workplace with me, in addition to refining this sweetening up skill with my sons. When they insisted on being grumpy, disagreeable and cantankerous I would figure out a way, speaking calmly and definitively to sweeten them up (make them un-angry). In the workplace I always seem to get match up with the most demanding person on the sales team. What I know about these people and why I like working for them, is that they are driven. Not in a cut throat, I’ll do anything I want, to get my way, but in a “if I am spending 8+ hours here, I should at least focus on excellence”. Sometimes that bristles people, but I totally get it.

Who have you sweetened? Has someone’s life been lifted because they knew you? How has your presence or caring encouraged someone? You will know right away who has sweetened you because a big smile will appear on your face as soon as you think about them. Sweet, sweet, sweet!

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