A few weeks ago, I ran into a former co-worker. This is someone I am always happy to see – she is like that really popular cool kid in school, the one who is nice to everyone, who makes you feel good about yourself and life in general after speaking to them. You know the type – when you are around them you feel special because the nice cool kid is choosing to talk to you. A genuinely good soul. Anyway, while in the midst of catch-up chit chat, she changed the topic right quick. Suddenly, this woman, whose opinion I respect, complimented our little blog! She spoke so kindly and heartfelt, and I was absolutely shocked by her sentiments. Besides the kind comments, the fact that she made of point of expressing these thoughts made me feel really special. She purposely took time to to say the nice things.
In a world so quick to criticize, compliments sometimes seem weird. It seems easier for so many to cut down instead of bring up. Perhaps because being nice makes us feel vulnerable, whereas we feel powerful when we criticize? Maybe we feel superior when we knock someone else, but being nice does not always bring the dopamine? Whatever the reason, we are in a collective bad habit of putting things down. We are very quick to see (and comment on) what we see as negative. Who does this help in the long run? Why not flip that, and hone in on the moments you can praise? I am not talking about being a Little Suzie Sunshine, loving everything you see – ew. Rather, if you think “I like that” say it out loud!
Last week, in the midst of frantically preparing to blow the pop stand known as Children’s Hospital, my daughter and I stopped to say thanks. Both of us were adamant about making a point to thank those who helped us through a difficult time. We were not thanking them for doing their jobs; rather, we were thanking them for doing their jobs so well. Although we were not able to thank everyone directly, we made a point to show our appreciation for what they did. It was not much, but hopefully we were able to help the health care workers feel appreciated.
Think about times when you have received an unexpected compliment. Did it not make you feel a little extra special? Perhaps made your day happier? Have you ever had someone make a positive comment about your clothes, hair or accessories (Try telling a teen you like their outfit. Their sullen face will melt into a smile)? How about someone appreciating your singing voice, or yard project, or even your sassy comment? Kind of makes you feel a little bit wonderful, doesn’t it?
Why save compliments for special occasions? It is not difficult to say the nice things. In fact, it is probably easier to genuinely say something nice than formulate a snide comment. The more you practice doing so, the easier it will be to make someones day…speaking from experience.