Saturday, 20 August 2016

I can live for two months on a good compliment

... said Mark Twain.

I feel exactly the same.
No matter how poised a person is, an honest compliment will always have a great impact, especially if that person has a "No" day.

There are compliments and compliments. I have already written about this as it's something I consider important.


One day, I was with a friend of mine walking back from work. A woman was coming towards us from the opposite direction. I couldn't help noticing the beautiful hairstyle she was wearing so I said: “Your hair looks awesome!”
Her face instantly illuminated while she was thanking me.
My friend was blown away and looked at me in wonder.
“Do you realise you've made this woman's day?”
I simply replied: “Yes, I do realise that. That's why I told her what I thought. It doesn't cost a thing to say a nice word to anyone.”

I do that often. I love the look in the eyes of these people, the surprise, the gratitude (most of the time). They clearly don't expect casual compliments in the streets.

You might think I am a very confident person and I can easily approach anyone in the streets and compliment them. That's far from the truth. My heart starts racing every time I have the impulse to say something unexpected to anyone, at any point, but I do it anyway.

Sometimes my compliments are not perceived in the way I intend them. But that's a risk I am willing to take.
Someone once told me that he would like to praise my outlook, but was afraid that I might take it wrongly or it would make me feel awkward.

Flattery doesn't make me feel uncomfortable anymore.
I used to terribly blush, but I have been working on this reaction for half of my life, and now, I can take a compliment with confidence. They are always appreciated, no matter who's the author... unless they are just a pleasantry or made with hidden intention.

Here is an extremely nice and simple example of a genuine compliment.

I was in a grocery shop looking for black olives. A young girl passed me by, stopped and asked where I bought the dress I was wearing. “ It looks amazing and suits you perfectly! I wish I could look like you.”  She said.
I didn't expect this reaction from just a random person, but it made me feel good.
This was obviously a sincere appraisal. It had no hidden intention as we didn't know each other and was very unlikely we'll meet again in the future.
When I don't feel proud of my looks, I go back in my memory looking for these kinds of remarks to remind myself that I am a good-looking person.
We all have moments when we need a nice word from someone close to us or even better, from a person on a street who doesn't know us at all.

A funny story.

Two lawyers - a couple - happily married for years. One evening they were going to a posh party. The woman was wearing a beautiful dress and looked ravishing, everybody complimented her during the evening.
Coming home, she said to her husband: "Have you noticed the way I look tonight? Did you even look at me? Our friends told me I looked amazing, but you said nothing."
The husband looks at her in surprise and replies: "Do you remember a month ago when you just bought a new dress and told you are beautiful? Until further notice, YOU are beautiful."

End of story: The husband slept alone in the guest room for a month.

Don't be tight with your charming words. Spreading myriads of eulogies to random people "in need" won't make you poorer.
The river of compliments is inexorable and free to use. Be generous.  

What I am trying to say is: Don't ignore the power of words, but if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. 
Some don't follow this unwritten rule but think that everyone should always say exactly what they think, ignoring others' feelings.
Hurting people with your subjective opinions about things is being mean, not honest. Be considerate of others. Always. Offensive words should be kept in your mind. Common sense.


The title is out it is out of the context though. Here is the whole thing.
"Compliments make me vain: & when I am vain, I am insolent & overbearing. It is a pity, too, because I love compliments. I love them even when they are not so. My child, I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat." - Letter to Gertrude Natkin, 2 March 1906.

Being aware of your talents, looks, achievements, strengths, is nothing like being arrogant (considering yourself better, superior). It's a huge difference that some ignore. Avoid.

**
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See you soon, amazing human being.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you. Your post has given me inspiration to write about my speech on a compliment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a very happy to hear that. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave this comment.

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