Compliments: A Chain Reaction

  1. a polite expression of praise or admiration
  1. politely congratulate or praise (someone) for something.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about compliments. The giving and receiving of them. It’s one of those things that are easy to give and make people feel really good but also something I don’t do enough of.  Recently, I was given a few compliments and it has changed my perspective on them. I want compliments to be a verb for me. An action. Something I am doing more of and more often.

I get nervous to compliment a stranger. I feel like a little kid all over again and although I will love a woman’s hair and want to tell her so, everything in me screams “stranger danger.” I know it’s stupid, and on days I am in a good mood and am caffeinated I will tell that stranger my compliment. I will also make sure she knows I am not selling anything, nor hitting on her or all the things I think is happening when I get a compliment from a stranger, because I am cynical and need therapy. BUT I am really working on acting on my (healthy) impulses. If I like her shoes tell her, see a kid with great manners, tell the kid and their parents. For instance a few weeks ago at the grocery store, a woman told me I had a good kid and I was like, “I do? Oh, I do.” My look of confusion wasn’t lost on her and she proceeded to tell me that she watched my 11-year-old son return something to its original spot in the grocery store while I was in another aisle. She said she thought if she weren’t watching her own son he probably wouldn’t have done that. I smiled and thought, neither would I. My husband takes grocery store etiquette over the top and my kids know everything goes in its rightful place. I, on the other hand, was not raised by him, but that’s another blog for another day. I thought that was such a nice thing for her to not only recognize, but to tell us in the checkout line. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do that, but it made me want to step out a little and be braver because when you make a person feel better it results in a chain reaction.

Second case in point the other day at the gym a fellow gym-goer, sister as we call them, who is a beast in all the best ways, strong, friendly, strong (did I mention strong?) she came up to me and said my arms look amazing. And she did it so fast in transition that all I could do is say “thanks”. Gah! So much else I wanted to say, like “these old things” or “they really aren’t amazing.” Really just anything to deflect from taking a compliment. Am I right ladies? How hard is it to just say thanks? But if I can be frank, I was swollen from that compliment. Like heck yeah! She said my arms look amazing. AMAZING! I have been working out for 15 months now, I work hard and yes to be seen for what I have been working hard on feels great! I started to strut a little, walk taller, ahem excuse me amazing arms walking by, I wonder if Lloyd’s of London would insure these puppies. I’m totally kidding, but it sure did feel good. It took her maybe 5 seconds to tell me that and created a monster for life. Again I am kidding. Totally kidding, but I felt good and you know what? I wanted others to feel good as well so the rest of my work out I looked for someone working hard and told them I saw them and they are awesome. Guess who felt awesome now? The sister I just saw and told them they were seen. Boom chain reaction.

I have a 15-year-old daughter who has been complimenting strangers from the age she could talk. It always makes me proud when I see her complimenting a stranger. Although I’m too scared, she is the exact opposite so I perk up as I watch her tell the barista her make up is perfect or a mom has cute shoes. I feel proud and in return want to be like her. I want to follow her example and I want you all to do the same. Let’s all practice this in the coming weeks and tell someone something you like about them, even if you are nervous to do so, especially if you are nervous to do so. Let’s see what happens next. 









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