I am going to start complimenting complete strangers. I am. I have made the commitment. I have been thinking about it for a while now. I see people and admire something about them, hair, outfit, attitude, or perhaps even the way the interact with their children, and I think, “I should tell them that!” But I generally don’t. I usually just smile (hoping that small bit of body language will communicate the positive vibes I have for them and somehow bless their day) and then walk away. It is just so far outside my comfort zone to even talk to complete strangers, much less compliment them, which is just one of the things about me that is quirky.
First of all- I love to give compliments! To the people in my life circle. My husband, my kids, my grandkids, my extended family, my friends…anyone I actually feel like “I know.” But strangers? No. Not at all…
The funny thing is, I have been the recipient of compliments from complete strangers, and they have never made me uncomfortable. In fact, they generally brighten my day! But for some reason, I feel like if I were to compliment someone I don’t know, they will look at me like I am crazy and feel totally uneasy.
I know this fear is a product of my own insecurity…instead of thinking how a compliment will affect the person I am giving it to, I am completely consumed with the fear of what they will think of me, a complete stranger…Silly? Yes, I know. Selfish? Yes, I am starting to see that.
So, the first person I complimented was the check out lady (girl really, because she was terribly young, probably not old enough to buy the box of wine which she was selling me) at Wal Mart. She was a very lovely girl, who had taken a “do rag” (that is what I call them) type of scarf and wrapped it around her head and had it tied in a really cool bow… When I saw it, my first thought was, “Wow! That is so cute and looks like something I would have worn when I was young.” And then my next thought was, “Well, I would have wanted to wear that, but I would not have because I would have felt like someone would have thought I looked stupid…” (Which if you really know me at all seems like an oxymoron because I do, say and wear things everyday that should make me look and feel stupid… my friend, Melody, would say that an actual “do rag” would be one of them… but for some reason, I am somewhat confident with those choices- go figure) So, in response to all of these voices in my head, I quickly said, “I love your scarf on your head!!”
Now, I have to say that I am so glad that I did not follow that with something stupid, like, “That is something I would have wanted to to do, but never would have had the courage to pull off…” or “I never would have thought about tying it in a bow on the top of my head, but it really looks good on you…” or, my all time favorite and most used addition to anything, “Sorry… just sayin’..”
Now, I have to say that forcing myself to keep quiet during the silence following my compliment allowed me to devote all of my attention on the check out girl’s reaction… (this is, surprisingly what happens when you turn your focus off of your own feelings and simply observe those around you, who knew?) She smiled shyly, and blushed a little and said, “Thank you!” as she reached up and tenderly touched her scarf… SCORE!!! For me and for check out girl!!! I had spoken the affirmative words that had entered my heart, without apology and without explanation. I had spoken them with confidence in my opinion and my assessment. The check out girl had received them as an affirmation that someone appreciated her sense of style enough to say something out loud, to her… a positive input for her day.
There is a saying I heard somewhere about that it takes five positive comments to equal/neutralize one negative comment… I am not sure how true that is… but it seems pretty accurate to me! I have decided I want to be on team POSITIVE FIVE!!! If I like it, am touched by it, admire it, inspired by it or simply think it is cute, I am committing to saying it out loud to the person wearing it, doing it or participating in it. Welcome to my new “Positive Lifestyle.”