August 17, 2011
Today is my birthday. And being my birthday, I spent the day reflecting on my life. Looking at my past, wondering about my future. Where have I been? Where am I at? Where am I going?
While reflecting, I remembered something that happened about seven years ago. Something that amazed me, shocked me. It made me sit up and take notice. It was warm and fuzzy, while being powerful. Every time it happened, I was lifted so high I was walking on the clouds. Every time it happened, I was surprised.
At first, I accepted it with disbelief. It took quite a few times before I began to accept it. “Really, me?” I would ask myself. As it occurred more often, on a regular basis, I began to believe it. “Yeah, I guess I am like that.” My self-talk started to change. Subtly and slowly, I started saying to myself the words that I was hearing. “Hey, I am good at this.”
With that newfound realization, I began to grow. I walked a bit taller. I smiled more often. I was happy beyond words. And it showed in my actions. I was kinder to people. I was more willing to reach out to someone. I made the time to talk with someone. Life became more than just working and taking care of my children.
It gave me the courage to examine my life and to face what was not working. It gave me the courage to stand up for myself. It allowed me to remove myself from a relationship that was damaging to me. A relationship that was very important to me. But one that I knew I could no longer remain within. This realization that I was a good person, that I was capable of many things, that I was liked by many, gave me the courage to leave my marriage.
What was this “something” that had such a powerful effect as to change how I viewed myself? That had the ability to change my very behavior? That had the ability to accomplish a miracle? That helped me to face the ugliness in my life and make positive changes? That allowed me to move on and continue to grow?
Really wasn’t much to the people providing it to me. Probably didn’t even cross their minds how much it would affect me. Likely, no-one realized what an impact they had made. Little did they know, it changed my entire life. I became one of the happiest people I know, secure in myself. And filled with enough confidence to deal with whatever life throws at me.
This “something” was nothing more than compliments. People giving me positive feedback on what I was doing. People telling me how much they appreciated me. How much they admired something I did. “You’re very artistic.” (I am?) “You’re very creative.” (Isn’t everyone?) “I love what you did with this. Thanks!” (No big deal.) Except it was a big deal. And it felt so wonderful to hear people acknowledging my efforts, letting me know.
Remembering this made me realize that we need to take time every day to compliment someone. To show our appreciation. To anybody. Even a stranger. Especially a family member. Extremely important to that person you know whose life is not going very well. Somebody you know who might be in a situation they shouldn’t be. Telling them what they should be doing instead just doesn’t help. Telling them how great you think they are, does.
So I challenge all of you reading this, go out and compliment at least one person every day. Let them know how much you appreciate something they did. Let them know that you admire them for something they are capable of doing. Let them know how important they are to you. Just let them know.