How One Compliment Can Change the World
As a restrained Yankee, which may be redundant, compliments (like hugs) are reserved for the people closest to you not the general population. That is how I understood the world to work until I arrived in New Bern.
One nondescript morning on my way into Dollar Tree an unknown woman looked at me, smiled, and then most startling of all said, “That outfit looks great, Honey.” I stammered back a thank you after rapidly looking around the parking lot to see who, other than me, she may be addressing. A millisecond later the shock wore off, and I felt great to be noticed and encouraged by this perfect stranger.
I mentioned this incident to my friend Erin who was raised in the south and she confirmed that this is a purposeful protocol employed by Southern women to catapult each other onto greatness. It doesn’t matter if that greatness is successfully shopping at Dollar Tree or finding the cure for stupidity, Southern women are raised to be cheerleaders at heart and in action.
Having observed this practice a number of times, I started taking the time to acknowledge and encourage other women with the simplicity of a solid compliment. Each time, the recipient stands a little taller, smiles a little broader, and absolutely radiates. Whether it’s the Goth teen clerking at Publix with the pretty nails or the slow walking elderly lady with a gorgeous chapeau heading up Middle Street, each of them are buoyed on to a better day for having been acknowledged.
Now, a compliment may not seem like much of a tool for building a better world, but just remember the ocean is made up of raindrops. Those few well-chosen spontaneous words can completely change the direction of a person’s day. That compliment can put them on a joyful path that they will share with others and the next thing you know, there is peace is the world. We have nothing to lose by trying.
By Contributing Author: Jane Maulucci, The Reactive Voice and Trained by Jane