When is the last time you complimented someone?
The last few weeks I have seen the power of a compliment in action.
I was in the local coffee shop meeting some friends for a visit when the lady behind the till asked about my necklace. “Did you make it?” she asked, “It’s beautiful, I really like it.”.
I was caught off guard and fumbled in thanking her for noticing. I had made it several years ago at a glass fusing workshop. I was actually very pleased with it, but no one had ever commented on it before.
That same visit another lady passed by our booth on her way to the door and stopped to say “Nice sandals, I really like them.” and then she left… as I once more fumbled to say thank you!
Two compliments in one visit to the coffee shop?! I am there fairly regularly and no one has every complimented me before!! The odd thing is that one of the compliments spoke to my creative ability (something I had recently been doubting) and the other spoke to how I presented myself (I had been feeling like I always look frumpy and don’t have nice things). They were very relevant compliments!
When things like this happen that seem a bit too coincidental I take it as a divine appointment. There is something I am supposed to be paying attention to and learning! So I asked myself “When is the last time I complimented someone?”
Those two compliments lifted my spirits and gave me a more positive view of myself that day! Simple words, offered in passing, that had a lasting impact. Who could I pass that on to by being aware and sincerely commenting on what I see? There is lots of negativity in the world and most of us are keenly aware of our faults and flaws, but we all can benefit from a compliment. We can all be a force for good in the world.
Our foster daughter has beautiful black curly hair. She has kept it tightly braided for the 2 1/2 years she has been with us, and often wore a bandana over the braids. There were times she was adamant that no one would ever see it loose because it was “sooo ugly” (her words). Her image of herself was marred by a past where other people’s comments shaped how she saw herself.
In March we got her special hair product for her hair type and my daughter-in-law and I helped her do her hair in loose twists. It looked great!! She admitted she liked it, but only wore it loose one day and wouldn’t go out of the house!
Fast forward to the “back to school haircut”. The fabulous Diane at Studio 107 who cut her hair, complimented her hair non-stop for the entire session, and showed her another simple way to style it loose. She sheepishly admitted to me that the eleventh time she was told “Your hair is so beautiful”, and said thank you she was feeling pretty awkward! But the message sunk in!
She styled it at home and left it loose for a couple of days, styled it on the weekend and let our family friends see it loose, and then yesterday she wore it loose to school!
Huge progress for the girl who swore she would never let anyone see her hair out nine short months ago!
Her confidence has grown. I believe the compliments made the difference. So what gave the compliments such power? They were true! They weren’t made up comments to flatter her, they were truth.
In the midst of the 4th wave of the Covid19 pandemic when restrictions are being put in place yet again, let’s choose to compliment each other instead of criticize each other!
When we speak truth over someone we exercise a power we often aren’t aware of. We all have lies we have believed that keep us from being our best selves. You can be a part of giving someone else freedom simply by speaking the truth you see! The trauma most kids in foster care walk through means there are many lies to undo and we have to continue to compliment the good things we see to bring freedom. Our foster daughter still believes some things that just aren’t true about herself. We will continue to speak truth and watch her bloom!
In the midst of the mess