Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Power of a Compliment

Here's a random sample from notes taken last summer in my journal. Just wanted you to see what my handwriting looks like...
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From the cute, friendly checkout person at the health food store on Tuesday: After I wrote out my check and handed it to you, I started to feel a little nervous when you held it up and looked at it for more than the usual time it takes. After bagging up the groceries, you looked at me with a smile and said, "You have the most beautiful handwriting." Wow. That caught me off guard. Most of the time I often think in my hurry, it's illegible and a mess.
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From the young woman who scooped up an ice cream cone for me a couple of weeks ago who said, "That color of your shirt is so complimenting to you." Hearing that made me smile. When Keith and I sat down I was so happy that I told him when he asked why.
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From the old lady who works at the temple: "You have such pretty hair." And when I was ready to leave: "Goodbye to the woman with not only pretty hair, but a beautiful smile." Do you know how good that made me feel when lately I'm so conscious and uneasy about all my premature gray hair?
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From the vet yesterday who said: "Are you a runner? I see you everyday...You run really well..." Even though it really made me want to cry, (because I can hardly run a mile these days)it still was fun thinking that there are people out there who notice you day after day, or who you make an impression on, and you don't even realize it.
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From Keith, who after last night's dinner, came up to me while I was sitting in our room reading, and out of the blue, said: "That chicken in the fajitas was so good. Really good." So nice to hear, especially when they somehow tasted off to me. (He also said this compliment right as I was thinking about writing this post and all these other compliments. Not a coincidence, I think.)
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From Aaron, for my birthday on Facebook: "...You are a force of positiveness that is to be reckoned with!"
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From Carine's e-mail: "You do so much for the universe. You get so many things right all the time."
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From Jane's birthday card: "When I get to the end of each school day, I crave just sitting by you and telling you about my day. You are such a good friend because you listen and are open, and we can laugh and cry together." I need to hear and then remember these words when I feel like I'm a crappy mom who always yells at her kids.
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All these compliments made my day. They brought a smile to my face and light in my life. They really did. They helped me feel good about myself, how I look, and the person I'm trying hard to be. I think there's power in kindness like this.
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For the giver of the compliment, it only takes a little thought and effort. Saying something specific and kind when it's really not that necessary in the day- to- day transactions and interactions we all have. It shows you care.
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For the receiver, it means all the world to hear such simple, yet meaningful, kind words like these. You learn from it. You want to say nice things to others, too. It spreads. Person to person to person. Before we know it, the world is a better place.
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I want to learn from this.

4 comments:

  1. I have been thinking about Elizabeth Edwards. All the kind things people have been saying about her. Makes me wonder what would be said about me. You are blessed to have received these compliments - while you are living! Have a good day!!

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  2. Truly, I believe the best part of cumpliments is the honest building up feeling that comes with them...You are definetly good at that and I hope you are complimenting yourself mentally everyday too! You have a lot of good in you and shines through for sure! Have a good day, Emily!

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  3. Compliments are my secret weapon :]

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