Your Good Opinion

The other day, I wrote a blog post entitled “A Surreal Encounter”. After a friend read it, she said, “You did the right thing. And your response was good, too. Proud of you.”

Of course I thanked her and told her that that meant a lot to me, but I don’t think that adequately puts across just how much it means to me. It brings tears to my eyes, just thinking about it. Everybody appreciates positive feedback. I think that most of us, deep down, wonder if we’re doing a good job in life. And for some reason, compliments are thin on the ground these days, so when you get one, it’s delicious. Savor it.

Personally, one “I’m proud of you” from someone I respect is worth more to me than gold. Because of that, I try to say that to people when I genuinely feel that way. They aren’t mind readers. They deserve to be told. And it’s so easy to do.

I don’t understand why people don’t realize what a precious commodity their good opinion is to the recipient thereof. I mean, it has become increasingly obvious in a general sense. We like to be “liked” for our Facebook comments. Everyone loves to be “swiped right”. So you’d think we wouldn’t be so hesitant to say, “Good job!”

If you haven’t given someone a sincere compliment in the last 24 hours, you may want to sit down and think about why that is. Do you really have such a low opinion of the people around you? If so, poor you. It must be a miserable world that you live in.

Or do you think that your words won’t mean anything to others? To that I say poppycock. And even if your compliment means nothing to the recipient, it’s not like you have a limited supply and you need to use them sparingly. It’s good practice. How hard is it to say, “I like your shirt,” or “Well done!”

If we all committed to giving one extra compliment per day, I think it would make a palpable difference in this world, which currently seems to be so obsessed with hate and division. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?

compliments

Check out my refreshingly positive book for these depressingly negative times. http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Okay, Now I Can Die Happy.

I just had the most gratifying conversation with an old friend from college. He told me I had a huge impact on him, and that I made him socially conscious. Wow. Just… wow.

I had no idea. And I’m all the more honored because I know him to be a very socially conscious person. I can’t take credit, really, because I’m sure it was within him all along, but if I was the catalyst for bringing that to the surface, well, that’s gigantic.

And it surprises me because I’ve always sort of felt like a quiet background kind of person. I don’t think of myself as a mover or a shaker or an influencer (to coin a term). I stand on the periphery a lot. Somebody has to prop up the walls.

So hearing this from my dear old friend does my heart good. A long-standing item on my bucket list has been to have a positive impact on someone. That’s no small thing. I have no children of my own, so the opportunities for substantive impact on my fellow man are few and far between.

It had me thinking about the people that have had an impact on me. There have been quite a few. Have I told them? Some of them. I shouldn’t assume that the rest know. And they deserve to!

Take a moment to think about the people who have made you a better person. Reach out to them. That’s what I plan to do.

And you never know. You might just be giving them this news at a time when they really need to hear it. It’s the most delightful feeling in the world, knowing you’ve made a difference. It’s life affirming.

self-esteem

Portable gratitude. Inspiring pictures. Claim your copy of my first collection of favorite posts! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5

Be Nicer to Yourself

I made some offhanded self-deprecating remark the other day, probably about my weight, and it brought tears to a friend’s eyes. That stunned me. I don’t always think about the impact my words have. These were tears of frustration that I don’t see myself the way that she sees me.

I tend not to take myself very seriously, so when others do, it takes me by surprise. And in this particular incident it really made me think. If my words about me were toxic to her, how toxic were they to my subconscious? How much damage am I doing to my psyche when I self-insult? Does my heart take me more seriously than I do?

And I’m fairly certain when I do this, more than half the time I’m not even aware of it. It’s like I’m injecting myself with carcinogens in my sleep or something. I really need to pay more attention.

I have another friend who is downright brutal to herself. And she’s a kind person. She would never talk about anyone else the way she talks about herself. Why? Because she wouldn’t want to hurt someone. Why does she not deserve the same courtesy? If you can’t be nice to yourself, why should anyone else be nice to you?

Yes, I’m a flawed human being. Yes, there are things I’d love to change, but probably won’t. But the truth is I’m actually pretty great. I’m loving and intelligent and funny and compassionate. I need to start saying these things out loud more often. I deserve to hear it. We all do.

So give yourself a compliment. Right now! Good habits have to start somewhere.

Fabulous

Spiritual Residue

Have you ever noticed that when a toxic coworker goes on vacation, the atmosphere at work visibly lightens? People are more relaxed. They are more prone to smile and be lighthearted. You actually hear laughter in the workplace again.

On the other hand, there are some people that can make you smile when you merely think about them. Others seem to bring energy into any room they enter. And still others seem to be a calming presence.

As unscientific as this will sound, I think we all have an impact that extends far beyond our corporeal beings. I like to call this the spiritual residue. It’s very important to consider the type of residue you leave behind.

Toxic people leave a sticky, unappealing trail much like that of a slug. If people tend to avoid you or dislike you, if you criticize more than you compliment, if words of encouragement are not in your vocabulary, you’re one of those slimy individuals.

I’d much rather be positive, upbeat and fun to be around. Instead of leaving slime, I’d like to leave a nice, fresh perfume in my wake. I want people to feel better for having crossed my path. I think that’s an admirable goal.

[Image credit: 7-themes.com]
[Image credit: 7-themes.com]

On Being a Hot Mess

A Canadian friend of mine (waving hello to Sim) was telling me of his various health issues, and I replied, “You’re a hot mess!” Every once in a while my Southern comes out of my mouth. I can’t help it. He had never heard the phrase before, and had to look it up. (Which charmed me to the tips of my toes.)

Out of pure curiosity, I decided to look it up, too. I was really surprised at the wide array of definitions, and none of them seemed to fit the true depth of feeling that this phrase evokes. So what follows is my rambling explanation. (I’d probably be able to be more concise if I weren’t such a hot mess myself.)

First of all, hot mess is not, repeat, not an insult. It’s like saying, “You’ve got so much going on, your life is such a mess, that I don’t know how you function, and yet you do, and I admire that like crazy.” It’s like calling someone a “real piece of work” but stripping all the negativity out of it.

If I consider you a hot mess, I appreciate you. I am also commiserating with you, and laughing with you. Make no mistake, I wouldn’t want to be you, and yet I think I’ve got a whole lot to learn from you about your ability to cope.

When this phrase came into being, it was more a physical comment. It usually referred to those lucky few who could be all scruffy and sloppy and yet still look great. It can still mean that, but over time it has also evolved into a more existential statement about being able to live a complicated, disorganized life with a whole lot of style.

So, mad respect for all those hot messes out there! Welcome aboard! It may be a bumpy ride, but it’s an adventure!

hot mess

You’ve Got to Love a Backhanded Compliment

The other day someone said to me, “Honestly, you are not bad looking on a good day, and you are smart. A little hair care, enhancing make up…” Be still my beating heart. Consider my ego massaged.

There’s nothing quite like a well-meaning friend to reinforce your already piss-poor self-image, is there? This comment now knocks one out of first place that had been residing there for decades. I once told this guy, “You have such pretty eyes!” and he responded, “And you have nice… uh… teeth?” Sniffle. My dentist would be so proud.

I come from a family that values intelligence and education above everything. Therefore the compliments I got as I grew up were always related to my smarts, and I have a rock solid confidence in that realm. Looks? Not so much. I come from a family of women, and yet no one ever showed me how to apply that enhancing make up of which my tactless friend speaks. (In fairness, I never expressed any interest, either.)

But here’s a suggestion for all well-meaning friends the world over: If you can’t say something nice…LIE. How hard is that?

backhanded-compliment

[Image credit: underthebutton.com]