Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Think You Are Great!

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 abidingjoyblog@gmail.com. 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!

12 comments:

Becky said...

This is so timely! As we got out of the car after church today, my 15-year-old son said "I like getting compliments." Since that seemed like an odd observation, I asked him if he had received one and he answered that for their lesson his quorum was paired up and they were supposed to list five good qualities of the other person. What a great exercise! And it made an impact on him.

And you're right that we don't necessarily have control on receiving compliments, but we do on giving them. One of my "New Year's Resolutions" for this year was to send a thank you note to someone monthly. I haven't done too well with that, but I can still change. Thanks for the motivation!

Jen said...

Thanks for the great reminder about a very easy way to spread joy. I've often found myself hoping for compliments, but realize too late that I should be giving them instead. Last week, Luke and I went out for a little Halloween-costume shopping and I received multiple compliments on his behalf for how cute he is or how well-behaved he was. It made me beam as a mom and I think it had an impact on him too because he was really, very well-behaved. Thanks, Cheryl, I needed that.

Jennifer said...

Your Mom and I had a conversation about accepting compliments back in April. She said that I looked pretty one Sunday morning and I said the obligatory Thank You. She asked if I believe her when she said that. I thought about it and answered No. It's just something you say to be nice. I know I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to compliments. I don't feel as though I deserve them. We went on to talk about a number of things and I realized, why would she lie to me? It'd be easier just to not say anything at at all. Anyways, long story shortened, because of the talk we had I have tried to make an effort to actually ACCEPT compliments from others and not just write them off as niceties (is that a word). It's not been easy, but it is amazing the feeling you get when you accept the compliment in the manner it was intended.

Melissa said...

I think Jennifer is right on target with her comment. I too have a really hard time accepting compliments, though I don't have a difficult time giving them. I have been working on it for the past few years, and I enjoy getting compliments now. My 3yr old compliments me all the time in her own little ways. I think she knows how to do it because she gets compliments a lot. I agree with you how the smile on a little face after a compliment is priceless. Good job for being the kind of mother who is raising somebody unafraid to share happy thoughts with the world!

Kristen said...

What a great reminder to give compliments. My husband is someone I should follow. He is always giving compliments to others. Even something little can make someone elses day.

Cheryl said...

Another comment has been posted on the previous post, addressing crying. Don't forget to check it out!
I was contemplating adding on to the blog a bit about accepting compliments, but I was really tired. So thank you Jennifer and Melissa! I love how you phrased it, Jennifer. It would be easier for someone to just not say anything than to lie. So believe all those compliments you get! What good are they otherwise?

Cheryl said...

Make that 2 new comments on "Have a Little Faith". The other one is a great summary of why we struggle with maintaining faith.

Amy said...

I love to give and receive compliments too. so I guess this is just me agreeing with you Cheryl. I would love to be less afraid of people and what they will think. Saying just a short compliment is a great way to work on that.

Ketchesons said...

I have a hard time taking compliments. Growing up I was always the ugly duckling. I have been uplifted here by all the nice people around me and my brand new family always makes feel "Wonderful"
I have been blessed to be in the ward I am, the women in my ward have taught me how important it is to give compliments. I have received notes from different sisters that point out my strengths and I love to hear them because it gives me an extra boost for my week. Since then I try really hard to do it to others and I can see the difference it has made for me and others.

Cheryl said...

A new comment has been posted on "Have a Little Faith".

Linda said...

I love this blog - You have a knack for expressing what so many of us feel, Cheryl. I realize I'm complimenting you, and I hope you realize that I'm sincere. I like reading everyone's comments too. I really do love reading this blog :)

It was always very hard for me to believe the nice things other people said about me when I was growing up, even though those comments made me feel good inside. It was even harder as an adolescent. Sometime in my teenage years I consciously decided to accept the nice things people said and to "save" them by picturing a "drawer" in my mind where I would mentally file compliments so that I could replay them in my mind on days when I felt down. It really helped.

Linda said...

I know it's a couple of weeks since this post, but I just found a poem that reminded of this post:

The Magic of a Compliment by Alice D. Chase

There's magic in a compliment
And little words of praise
Are sure to lift our spirits
And brighten up our days.

It's great to be applauded
For an honor we have won
Or accept congratulations
For a job that's been well done.

But maybe we forget
That other folks deserve a few
Appreciative comments
And are eager for them too.

Perhaps we pass up chances
That are right before our eyes
To make somebody else's face
Light up in glad surprise -

At and unexpected tribute,
A word or two of praise,
That would bolster up their spirits
And brighten up their days.

It really isn't difficult
To cultivate the knack
Of making others happy
With a pat upon the back.

And once we've got the habit
We wo't find it any chore
To say nice things to people;
We'll enjoy it more and more.

For every time we add
To someone's confidence and pride,
We ourselves are bound to feel
A pleasant glow inside.

That's why we say there's magic
In those little words of praise
And beauty in a compliment -
Because it works both ways!