A year or two ago, my sister Cait gave me some really great advice, as she’s wont to do more regularly than that. On this particular occasion, she suggested that I make a special label in my Gmail account and that I call it “for a rainy day.”
Filed under that label, she suggested, should be every kind, supportive, sweet, and loving note that I have ever received. Every nicety sent from an old boss. Every supportive email from a professor. Every kind boost of confidence from an old friend. Every out-of-the-blue note from a blog reader. This way, she explained, that on a rainy day—or on a perfectly sunny day that still somehow felt gray—I could visit the label and read through the kindnesses that had been sent my way and feel better.
I’m not quite sure what kind of energy I’ve been sending out into the universe to deserve such things, but this week I’ve been showered with a particularly plentiful bundle of virtual notes to tuck away “for a rainy day.” So today, I felt like it was my karmic responsibility to pass Cait’s bit of big-sisterly advice along to all of you.
The plain truth is that sometimes people are not very kind. They will send notes and make comments and do things that are mean-spirited, or damaging, or simply unhelpful. But much more often than that people are kind and generous and smart and good. And we owe it to those people, and to ourselves, to let theirs be the voices that we hear the loudest. When the nastier voices crop up, it’s awfully nice—hell, imperative—to be able to quash them with a read-through of notes that are big-hearted and compassionate and encouraging.If you don’t have a labeling system in place in your email account, frankly, I’m not sure how you survive. And I urge you to consider making one now. Start with a label that reads “for a rainy day.” (Maybe you end there if compulsive labeling is not your bag. Maybe you will discover the beauty that is custom color labeling in Gmail. Maybe you are already very much on board with the magic of meticulously color-coded labels.)It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be someone who goes in for this kind of self-helpy stuff or not. Notes for a rainy day can soften even the hardest edges. And I think we all deserve to be reminded of goodness—our own and other peoples’—on rainy days and sunny ones.
I hope you consider this my rainy day note to each of you and that maybe it inspires you to send a rainy day note to someone else.
Ever sappily yours,
thank you for posting this; i used to save some nice notes in my inbox directly, but i think putting them into a folder is smart. everyone needs some good vibes every once in a while 🙂
I didn’t know about colour-coded labels in Gmail. My life is changed forever!
Think I’ll go create my rainy day label now 🙂 Thanks to your sister for the lovely tip!
really great advice! sisters are so special, aren’t they?
Such a lovely post Erin! My “rainy day” folder is labelled “Bev” on my Gmail account. In it are all the e mails that my best friend, who passed away 4 years ago, ever sent me. Every single e mail was a happy, funny or quirky one. It`s just the comfort I need when I am having a “rainy day”
Love this! Am starting one this week!
Agree, I have a file called Happy Things for sweet emails 🙂
I love this idea! I actually have a “good things jar” where I scribble down good and happy things that happen, and that I open up at the end of every year (or whenever I’m having a rainy day).
I do a similar thing at work where I keep a folder called “success” on my desktop: any emails from bosses praising a project well done, reviews from HR, general client happiness, etc. It’s a nice little trick so that when you are up for a promotion/raise/etc–or you want to argue for one–you have a one-stop-shop of all the reasons why you deserve it. I
Very cute and thoughtful
I’ve never noticed that the labels can be color-coded… you’ve changed my life! Love this idea of Rainy Day notes 🙂
**fist bump** Thanks for being and supporting the good people, organizations and ideas that make the internet a place to build community and tribe (and not the opposite). It’s exactly why I love coming here. xo
Thanks for this, Erin! I went through a tough time recently and started a not on my phone called “The Good Stuff,” where I copy and paste (or transcribe) lovely and supportive things that those closest to me have said. I revisit and reread often, as needed—especially helpful to break a self-loathing loop in my head and remind me of how those that love me see me. 🙂
Totally unrelated, but would you consider doing a post on how you organize your kitchen, Erin? I just moved and am setting up a new space and I bet you have wonderful tips on how to organize food and cookware simply and beautifully!
What a brilliant idea! Will have to save those gems for rainy days!!
Fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing, Erin.
I have a box of notes (love notes from former students always make it in here) that gets me through the tough times. Occasionally I think to myself that I should put them in a photo album but then the double-sided beauty and touchability would be lost so I keep them on a box. I love your suggestion to tuck away emails that are like this. While I don’t get many I really treasure the ones I do receive. Your suggestion is way better than me marking them as unread. Oh, and thank you for being you. You are super cool.
Love this! Thanks for sending all the goodness out into the internet world. x
This is such a sweet (and smart!) idea! Thank you for sharing it with us, I have been consciously trying to find something nice to say to someone every single day, even when I feel like growling at everyone. It makes a difference.
What a wonderful idea!! I could definitely use the pick me up on those rainy days!! =)
I can tell you what kind of energy you put out: kind, observant, grateful, thoughtful, caring , gentle & I could carry on. In my view, you put this energy out in every post, so this last week has not been out of the ordinary. Your posts are tiny spaces of peace in a very noisy world and I always savor my time there. I look forward to reading your book, which I pre-ordered. Thank you for your work.
Thanks so much for your note. Another very bright spot in my week.
I am loving this so very much! Your sister is a very wise woman! It´s the little things and I am always astounded myself, that I would rather read a mean-spirited comment/email all over again but brush of the nice ones in a second. I guess there´s a lot to learn for us right there 🙂 xo
i have a physical drawer in my desk full of notes. when i open it, the contents never fail to bring a smile and a sense of calm to my day! even the notes that seemed less than heartfelt when i received them have aged into memories that can improve my outlook on even the hardest day.
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