🎁 The Power of Living Eulogies: A Heartfelt Gift for Any Occasion
A living eulogy is a heartfelt tribute to someone special in your life, expressing your gratitude and appreciation for them while they’re still alive.
Unlike traditional eulogies, which are delivered at funerals, living eulogies can have a significant impact on both the person receiving the tribute and the person writing it.
In this blog post, I’ll explore the process of writing a living eulogy, the benefits it can bring, and how to make it an unforgettable gift for your loved ones.
⚰️ Eulogies: The Funeral Tradition
Eulogies are usually delivered at funerals. When you attend a funeral, you hear many heartwarming eulogies. They share their favorite memories about the person who passed away and how they made a great impact on their lives.
If you are delivering a eulogy, you probably wish that you had told the person all the positive things they brought to your life while they were alive. It is rare that the person involved actually hears their own eulogy given by friends or family members.
At a funeral I once attended, many people shared their fond memories of the deceased. The wife of the deceased mentioned that when her husband was alive, he believed that not many people liked him. She wished he could have been there to hear all those wonderful stories.
🌟 Why Wait Until the Funeral?
There are many reasons you avoid sharing how much of a positive impact somebody made on you until the person is gone.
😣 The Discomfort of Sharing Feelings
Probably the main reason is that it makes you uncomfortable to share honest and deeply intimate feelings with someone, even if it is positive. You are more likely to share negative feelings when somebody hurts you rather than positive feelings when somebody lifts you up.
But when the person is gone, for some reason you feel it’s okay to reveal your intimate feelings and how much of a positive impact they made on you.
✍️ The Effort of Writing a Eulogy or Gratitude Letter
Writing a eulogy or gratitude letter is free. But it requires time and deep thinking.
In general, people don’t like to do things that require a lot of thinking even if they can make a big impact. It is much easier to click the “Buy Now” button, wrap something up, and give it to someone.
⏳ Transience Aversion
In his book, “Exceptional: Build Your Personal Highlight Reel and Unlock Your Potential,” Daniel M. Cable, Professor of Organizational Behavior at London Business School, says that another reason you avoid sharing how much you appreciate the person is transience aversion.
You try hard not to think that life is transient. You tell yourself that you will always have a chance to tell the person how much you appreciate them later. But the reality is that we are all mortal. We all have limited time on this earth, and our lives are transient.
You might be thinking, “I will tell them before they pass away or I do.” But death can come suddenly.
🌟 Ishin Denshin
You might have the notion of “Ishin Denshin (以心伝心),” meaning you can communicate through unspoken mutual understanding. This is more common in high-context cultures like Japanese society.
I grew up in Japan thinking that I don’t need to share my intimate feelings with other people. They just “know.” But I realized that is actually not true.
“We carry these treasured memories around, sometimes for decades. We move them forward in our mental drawers, even while we forget so many other things. Why would we cart these stories around of other people, but not reveal them until after they die? What a flawed approach to living.”
Instead of waiting until it’s too late, consider expressing your appreciation through a living eulogy while the person is still alive to hear it.
💌 Writing a Living Eulogy: The Process
🎯 Choosing the Recipient
You can write a living eulogy for anybody who has made a positive impact on you. They can be your parents, spouse, friends, teachers, neighbors, colleagues, or doctors.
You probably have at least one person who gave you unconditional love when you were growing up. It would’ve been hard to grow up without that person. Often, that person is a parent, but it could also be a grandparent, teacher, neighbor, or uncle. Consider starting with that person.
✍️ Crafting Your Living Eulogy
Imagine you are delivering the eulogy at the person’s funeral. Jot down anything that comes to your mind. Take time to relive your fond memories with the person and write down how what they did or said made a positive impact on you.
Cable advises that you write it as a story, not just as a collection of facts. Our brains are hardwired to remember stories, rather than random facts. Have a beginning, middle, and end in the story. Include the details that help revitalize the specific memories such as images, times, locations, smells, and your feelings.
It can be handwritten, typed, or dictated. The important thing is you actually express your feelings in words, not just in your mind.
🌈 Benefits of Living Eulogies
🎁 The Impact on the Recipient
The person who receives the living eulogy from you will probably be surprised and shocked to get it. Your eulogy will let them know how much you appreciate them. They might also realize the hidden strengths they have.
Cable says receiving a living eulogy can cause a positive trauma to the recipient. It can actually help the person to focus on their strengths to make a great impact on other people and live a fulfilling life.
😊 The Joy of Giving
Just like any other gift, writing somebody a living eulogy will also make you happy. You appreciate how fortunate you are to have that person in your life.
👥 Strengthening Bonds
After you give the eulogy to somebody, ask the person if they can write a eulogy for you and share some positive impact you made on that person. A living eulogy will make you and the recipient feel closer to each other.
Human beings are social animals. For a happy life, close connections with other human beings are crucial. This living eulogy can help you to create those close connections with other people.
📝 Take Action Now
Make a list of people for whom you want to write a living eulogy and start writing it. If you are lucky enough to have a living mother or father, why not write a living eulogy for them?
This act of writing living eulogies will bring intimacy and happiness to you and those around you.
Life is transient. Don’t wait to act on it!