First I want to mention that I created an email account specifically for this blog (thanks for the idea, Belky!). You can send me messages at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please use this address!
Next I wanted to mention something I came across while reading the Ensign this week that related to last Sunday's topic. It was last July's issue. There was an article that reminded me of the experience of Paul. He asked the Lord to remove an unspecified "thorn in the flesh", but the Lord did not. Instead He told Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). What a great reminder/example of having unwavering faith and the blessings for doing so!
Now for this week's topic--paying compliments. This is something that has been on my mind lately because KN has recently started offering unsolicited compliments. It has been interesting to witness first hand the compliments and how they are received, and yet be uninvolved. For example, one day we were walking out of our gym as a woman was walking in and KN stated emphatically, "I like your belt!" We have never seen this woman before so both she and I were a little surprised, but I could see in her face how much she appreciated this genuine compliment from such an unexpected source. And I experienced it myself yesterday when she said, "These are wonderful pancakes, Mommy!" while eating pumpkin pancakes I made for breakfast. The other thing I've noticed while watching these exchanges is the smile on KN's face when she sees the smile on the other persons face. There isn't necessarily a smile when she delivers the compliment, but there is always a smile after she realizes that she made the other person happier.
Compliments do, of course, feel great to receive. But we can't control how or when we are complimented, so that is not a good plan for increasing joy. What we can control is how often and how sincerely we compliment others. I don't know if any of you are like me, but I have been guilty many times of thinking a compliment in my head so many times without ever sharing it. Why?! I'll see a friend and think, "Wow! I LOVE her haircut!" and then keep it to myself. Silly. It always feels good to tell someone something nice about themselves. So, several months ago, I made a commitment to myself to express every compliment I think. That's really easy when it's someone I know, but for some reason it's still a struggle when it's a stranger. But every time I've followed through, I've felt better after. It's fun to make people smile. And compliments always make people smile.
I think women in general used to be more connected to each other. But now we put up invisible walls and second guess ourselves around each other. We always wonder what the other woman will think if we reach out. So, how often do we just dismiss the thought and pass up on the opportunity to brighten some one's day? What are we afraid of? That some woman is going to think less of you for telling her she has a really cute outfit, or that you love her hairstyle? Probably not. It hasn't happened to me yet. So far, I've only seen smiles and gratitude in response and I feel better about myself afterward, too. And, at least for a moment, I feel a little more connected to someone.
Pretty much all of the women I know are amazing. And yet, we are so hard on ourselves. So, let's help each other out a bit by expressing to one another all the good we see. I have a friend who always makes me smile and feel happier, just from being with her. So, I wrote her a note to tell her how much I admire and appreciate that. I have other friends who are incredible moms and so many women that are great examples to me in all areas and walks of life. I need to tell them! So, my challenge to you this week is to let go of inhibitions and start building each other up. Don't hold back. Look for things to appreciate in each other because they're there.
And get excited because here is one thing that will bring you joy and it's so easy, even a 3 1/2 year old can do it!