September 21 – “A compliment is the lift in the elevator of life.” (Sue Cox)
If you want to make someone’s day, and do it in a sincere way, then master the art of giving compliments. In my experience there are few gifts more valuable than a heart-felt, genuine, sincere compliment. In my life I can remember some of the Christmas gifts I’ve been given, and a few of the birthday gifts as well. But, honestly, none of them ever had a truly lasting impact on my life. But, hearing a compliment from someone will always make a difference. Some stay with me for many years to come.
I am in the midst of doing a 30-day affirmation challenge. In the month of September I am giving myself one, heartfelt, genuine, sincere compliment every day. Today is day 21, and the stack of 3×5 cards on my desk is growing. I have been using the principles of good compliment giving that I learned in the Dale Carnegie class years ago. You can read about them in this post on the Affirmation Challenge.
One thing I have learned in these past 3 weeks is that it is sometimes difficult to give myself a compliment. I guess that isn’t really earth-shattering news for me, since I am my own worst critic. What makes it unique this month has been that I have had to do it every day. I complimented myself on the day I had an argument with my wife. I complimented myself on the day I was behind at work. I complimented myself on the day when I made a mistake on our home improvement project. I complimented myself on the day when I ate more than I should.
Of course, I didn’t compliment myself for those particular things. What I did do was find something else on those days that was praise worthy in myself. The truth for myself, and for all of us, is that we have far more about us that is praise worthy than those things which should be criticized. It is easy for me, on days when something hasn’t gone as I planned, to get down on myself for the whole day. I will sometimes go to bed and lie awake wondering why I made a mistake, and how I could make up for it the next time. While the part about doing better next time is good, generally I spend a lot less on that and a lot more on beating myself up.
As I have progressed through this challenge, I have ended each day with a positive thought for myself about myself. I sleep better, and the next day I don’t wake up with yesterday’s issues on my mind.
Compliments truly are the lift in a person’s life. Whether that compliment is directed at another person, or at myself, it has the power to uplift the spirit, refresh the soul, and push the person forward in life.
Today my reflection is on keeping this idea of the daily compliment alive after September 30th. I think this needs to become a fixture in my life.