I’ve never met anyone who got mad when I gave them a compliment. Have you? So why are we sometimes so stingy with our words? I know we’ve all noticed folks who looked beautiful or who had an outfit that was striking. Or we’ve encountered people who were exceptional at their jobs or who had an extra sweet spirit about them.
I’ve been guilty of thinking nice things about people without saying those things to them, and I suspect you have been as well. Maybe it’s shyness about talking to a stranger or wondering what they will think if we give them a compliment.
I learned a valuable lesson about that many years ago. I was standing in a long line at a department store right before a holiday waiting to have my packages wrapped. Ahead of me was a lovely elderly lady. Her soft white curls were charming, her make-up applied perfectly, her outfit adorable. And to top it off, there was such sweetness etched into her face.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I blurted, “Excuse me, ma’am.” She turned around and I said, “You are so beautiful. Your outfit is adorable, and I love your hair. I’d give anything to look like you when I’m your age.”
She was stunned. And then with tears in her eyes she said, “Nobody’s called me beautiful in years. Oh my goodness, thank you!”
And then other people spoke up, “I was just standing here thinking the same thing.”
“You have such a classic beauty.”
“I agree! You’re cute as you can be.”
I literally watched her blossom, and when she turned to leave, she said, “Thank you all so much. You made my day.” Such a simple thing. Words that I almost didn’t say. An opportunity to bless someone, and I almost missed it.
That was a life-changing moment, and I decided that I’d always verbalize it when I thought something nice about somebody. And just as important—because compliments are often paid when the person isn’t around—that I’d try to repeat anything nice that I heard.
Compliments are easy to give, and they’re often remembered for a lifetime. Who can you compliment today? After watching someone’s face light up when they hear nice words, you might become addicted to the practice. And our world will become a far better place.
PS: Just so you’ll know, I think you’re the best readers in the world!