January 24 is National Pay A Compliment Day. I can’t think of any time in recent history when doing so has been more important — to speak “plus words”, not “minus words”, adding to others, rather than taking away. Mr. Rogers, the icon of children’s inspirational television personalities, is one to look to for just that inspiration in this circumstance: “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each us offered, as matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”
Wow. That is powerful.
Unfortunately, compliments can feel unnatural sometimes. We might feel shy or awkward, or even unmotivated to uplift someone who we have judged as unworthy for some reason. We seem almost internally programmed to see the problem, the wrong, the mess. Fortunately, through the struggles and challenges of the pandemic and the pain illustrated by the racial injustice movements, society has begun to see beyond themselves. We have witnessed the power of uplifting rather than tearing down. I have started to see hope in us as a people, supporting and loving one another. Through some of the toughest times, we see humanity shine brighter.
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has- or ever will have- something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”
Often, it’s hard to see good or extend a compliment to others we might feel are undeserving. However, these folks are the ones who need our encouragement the most. These people are likely walking around in pain or anger for some reason. Psychologists will tell us that people who are hurting are the ones who hurt or mistreat others. Their pain or need comes out in a way that’s a put off for many people, but they’re the ones who need the love and healing. We can love them by giving them a simple compliment that might turn their entire day around.
I often walked around with this type of anger in my younger years, and to be honest, some days I still can. I experienced some tough times in my family life in my younger years. I didn’t realize until I was older how I was letting this chip on my shoulder affect my personality and how I treated others. With this realization, I was able to change my attitude through my faith, my friends, my family, and psychological help. I have been able to understand that my happiness is directly affected by my attitude. Additionally, I have come to believe that changing my attitude toward others changes my entire attitude. Uplifting others is so very good for the soul.
Yes, I’ve been beat down at points in my life, but I can heal myself through healing others. YOU have the power to build others up just by what you say, and the actions you perform! Whether big or small, YOU can make a difference in the lives of others all while creating more happiness in your own life. Have there been words in your life that have really stuck with you? Something that changed your life, attitude, or viewpoint in some way? Reflect on those experiences and think about how you could be that change for others.
“Knowing that we can be loved exactly as we are gives us all the best opportunity for growing into the healthiest of people.” Now, let’s extend that thought into loving and uplifting all those with whom we come in contact — just as they are, scars, and flaws, and all.