I know from life experience, that the sense of loneliness and the sense that no one out there really cares, can have a detrimental effect on our day to day living. Just as the same is true, when someone smiles at you, with a sincere smile, or when someone affirms you and builds you up, or gives you a complement, it can make the whole day worth living.
I work in the insurance industry, in the most difficult aspect of it, claims. I am the front face of claims customer service. I am the person you speak to when you have new information on a claim, or you want an update on the status, or you have questions concerning how the claim was settled. You speak with me and you ask your questions, and in some cases you vent, which is understandable, especially when you thought the incident would be covered by the insurance. During a typical day, I can go through over 60 calls from people. I always try to identify with them, and treat them with respect, and respond and interact with them, the way I would want to be respected and dialogued with. Some calls are difficult and it is not always easy explaining why a claim is denied, but when people get the straight goods as to why from someone who respects them and answers their questions, they usually accept the decision.
I have had my share of “nasty calls” and it makes it all the more important to not take things personally when someone reduces the conversation to name calling, swearing, and threats. After a while you become more acquainted with these responses, and allow people their moment to vent, and if need be you escalate the call to a more senior staff member or supervisor.
Occasionally you will get someone you helped that will either send an email or phone to speak to a supervisor, and it is to that you for the exceptional service you rendered in their claim in addressing their issues professionally, and with due diligence. When those calls and emails come, and they get forwarded to you by your supervisor, it makes the whole day worth while. Sometimes, these people will speak to the supervisor, and they will ask for you directly, just to say “Thank you!” The feeling you get, of making a difference and helping people through something as unfamiliar as an insurance claim, it can be so affirming and validating.
We want to find meaning in our lives, and men in particular want to find it in their work, that someone notices and pays attention, and that it actually has worth and value, when really what we are yearning for is affirmation for ourselves as people. It is a good and noble thing, to affirm others and build them up. The Scriptures show that one of the aspects of the church is to build up and encourage, rather than to tear down. So today, won’t you take the time, to smile and affirm someone?
View this short film. It will powerfully move you, and perhaps encourage you to affirm others and be affirmed yourself.