June 27      

Today's quotation:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Leo Buscaglia

Today's Meditation:

I spent a long time being a person who always underestimated these things.  My thought was, "Why would they want those things from me?  Why would they matter to them coming from me?"  Somehow as I grew up I internalized the message that I didn't matter, and therefore the things I do don't matter.  I'm very glad that I learned that these thoughts were completely untrue.  My encouragement does help other people; my kind words can make them feel better; my compliments do mean something, my smile or act of caring can make a difference in someone else's life.

So nowadays, I try to compliment people as much as I can, as long as my compliments are sincere.  I don't run around complimenting everything I see just because ("you drank that coffee very well!"), and I generally try to minimize my compliments on material things that someone has bought and focus on things that people have done well, said well, or worked on a lot.  When I compliment the third-graders in my class for being so patient with the kindergartners, it makes their day.

As a teacher, I have to be careful.  If I compliment everyone for everything, it stops meaning anything at all.  And in some cases, it's important to hold off on the compliment for a little while, when I know that someone is working towards something very important.  But I do my best to compliment everyone I can, even those who are doing poorly, and sometimes it takes a little bit of digging and creativity to come up with something that is worthy of a sincere compliment.  If I can't compliment on a result, I can almost always compliment on the effort involved in reaching it.

What kinds of compliments can you give today?  We really shouldn't let any days go by without complimenting someone for something, and preferably several someones for several somethings.  We're adding to the positive energy of the world when we do so, and we're possibly giving a little dose of hope to someone who can really need it.  They're free and easy to give, so why don't we give more?

Questions to consider:

How many times do you compliment others each day?  Do you make a conscious effort to do so?

Why do compliments need to be sincere to be valuable?

What are some of the effects that you feel when someone compliments you?

For further thought:

Compliments are little gifts of love.  They are not asked for or demanded.  They tell a person they are worthy of notice.  They are powerful gifts.  But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of what we think and if they are given freely and not coerced.  Compliments backfire if they are not genuine.  And faux flattery is usually highly transparent.  A false compliment makes the speaker untrustworthy; it raises suspicions about motives.  And that can undermine a whole relationship.

Hara Estroff Marano

more on compliments



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