I have always been kinda a smartass. My friends are the playful, rough-around-the-edges sort, and we give each other a lot of grief. I think it is all great, because we laugh and have a good time. However, I don’t think that I have really had a good understanding of the boundaries of spoken words until I have grown older. It hasn’t been until the last 4-5 years of my life that I have really taken inventory of myself, my feelings, and the world around me. I have just not been very in tune with myself or the people around me. That’s not to say that I have been running around town calling people douchebags and losers at every street corner, but I haven’t really taken into account just how powerful words can be. When I say that I believe that words are powerful, I mean that I believe that they have the potential to absolutely pull a person from the depths of despair, dust them off, and set them on an entirely different course. I believe that someone’s compliment, or simple observation, can potentially unlock something inside of them that can change them forever. The same goes for the opposite, but I’m partying on the positive side of town. You can creep down negatory alley on your own time.
About five years ago, I was laying in bed during one of the deepest depressions I have ever faced. I received a text message from a 60 year old man who told me this, “I’m thinking about you. I care about you. And, I expect great things from you.” I wasn’t sure how to take this, as my past dictated my thinking. I didn’t really know how to receive compliments and my first instinct was to say something smartass, cause that’s what smartasses with low self-esteem do. I inventoried exactly how this made me feel, and I chose to accept the nice words. It wasn’t long before I had a circle around me, who would text me, just to check in on me. They generally had something very nice to say to me. They seemed so comfortable with themselves. The kind words that they gave to me seemed so effortless, but I carried them with me for days at a time. I would later begin practicing the giving of truth in compliments and observations. It became easier and easier, until I found that I was becoming much happier with myself in the way that I spoke to other people. I began seeking the good in people, so that I could verbally share what I perceived to be their truth. The words I received changed my direction. These text messages changed my life.
I woke up Friday morning with a card from Amanda. There was no special occasion, there was no significant event. It was just like every other morning, only there was a card. I opened the card and found that she had filled about 3 pages worth of kind sentiments. Of course, I shed tears of gratitude, and I have carried those words with me ever since. They have made me better. Some of the things which she perceives as qualities about me, I had no idea even existed. It is because of the words that she wrote, that I can focus on these things about me and try to build on them. Essentially, I am relying on the observations of others to tell me what areas I excel. Her words are like a life compass, and much of the time I have been unaware of the direction or the terrain, which I was traveling. I don’t know if Amanda had any idea that her words would impact me the way that they did, and not sure it really matters, because they did. The letter changed my life.
I received a comment on a Youtube video this weekend. It was not meant to be anything more than a nice thing to say, but I have clung tightly to it. It was in regards to my having a positive attitude, and it meant more than this guy could possibly imagine. It changed me. It made me aware that people pay attention. It made me feel as if I matter. It made me feel as if I can possibly make people better, simply by trying to be better, myself. It opened my eyes to the number of people whom I come into contact on a daily basis, and that my words can possibly effect all of them. It helped me to see that we all have an opportunity, with each and every encounter, to change someone for the better. With every cashier that accepts my money, every waiter that takes my order, and every person I see throughout each day is an opportunity to change the course of their life, as well as significantly improve mine.
I challenge you today to find the compliment that you have to pay. Walk through the discomfort that comes with second guessing how the other person will receive your praise. Call or text, and share with someone the attribute that they possess, which you admire. Don’t question how they will receive it, just do it. You can pay a compliment however you like, how someone receives it is their business. Being truthful and positive provides a rush of energy. It will make your day more fun. Pressing the “send” button, after speaking words of encouragement gives a level of excitement and energy. Take inventory of how freeing it can be to say something positive about someone else, and take note of how often you avoid it. I think many people avoid compliments because they don’t know how to receive them, so they are afraid to give them. No one ever wished that someone would not have said something nice to them. I watch as so many people intentionally display apathy towards others’ accomplishments out of envy and pride. I observe as people intentionally “poo poo” or snub their nose at other people doing great things. It is if they feel like their is a finite amount of positivity that is available, and they don’t want it wasted on someone other than themselves….Don’t be like Sally Poo-Poo. Be positve. Be supportive. Be encouraging. Share someone’s truth. Be deliberate in the ways you compliment others and try to give your life some real purpose. My hope is that one person will stop right now, type the words that someone else needs, wants, deserves to hear and presses send right now. The result will be awesome. Enjoy your day. This week is going to be crazy good. Huge.
Peace, love, and all things Beef related,
I think I pop a button every time you write on here, it makes me that proud!
Thanks Robin. I appreciate it.