When was the last time you complimented someone?
Probably today; at least yesterday. If your life is anything like mine, I’m surrounded by talented, caring, giving, and beautiful people. I’m a pretty lucky girl actually. Handing out compliments is not something I plan to do daily or is on my checklist, it just happens naturally because I’m either lucky or smart enough to surround myself with awesome friends, clients, family, and people.
I can’t help but wonder if we’re so conditioned to show appreciation and praise for those around us. Is the only genuine compliment, one that is given to a complete stranger?
Hear me out here.
I once read an article that stated that all compliments given were a direct result of an emotion, action, or feeling that complimented ourselves. Which brings me to question; do we compliment to be genuine or to make our own selves feel better?
Kina deep, I know. I just have to disagree with the article. Yes, I compliment people in my life that compliment me. Yes, making the ones around me feel good makes me feel good, but that can’t mean that all my compliments aren’t genuine?
So I decided for the next week I would complement 1 person a day that was a complete stranger. I can’t even begin to tell you what 7 days, 7 compliments, and 7 strangers have taught me.
My alarm goes off at 4:37 exactly, almost every morning to Britney Spear’s “You better work B*tch”; because If you want a hot body, a bugati, you gotta work b*itch, but anyways I wake up early.
Every morning while driving to my gym to train my clients, I pass a dairy queen. Normally I push on the gas and try to fly by as quickly as possible (blizzards don’t equal skinny jeans) but this morning I stopped and got out.
Why was I at the Dairy Queen parking lot at 5:30 a.m.? Because every day, at 5:30 a.m., when I feel like the only one crazy enough to work these hours, I see a woman cleaning windows, trash cans, tables; everything! Every single morning for a year; I’ve seen her there; cleaning.
I walked right up to her, almost completely freaking her out in the still dark hours, and told her my name and that I saw her every day on my way to work and I’d like to compliment her on her work ethic.
Monica, her name, kina looked at me like a crazy cat lady for a minute and rambled a thank you and returned to cleaning.
Hmm…. I’m obviously not awesome at this, I thought as I got back into my car, but oh well, 1 down for Monday.
Let’s some Tuesday up very quickly and lightly; because that’s not how Tuesday turned out to be. I fell victim to identity theft and a 3 hour phone call with paypal later, I finally reached the Paypal Representative Ben.
To paint a picture for you; I have a temper, I was on a low carb day, and I just had close to 700 dollars stolen from my bank account. I was not a happy camper and by 10:30 p.m. there were no compliments to strangers administered and I was about to admit myself to the psych ward.
By the end of my conversation with Ben, I was assured everything would be taken care of and had no need for any more concern about my account.
I thanked him. Not just your normal hey thanks, but a genuine “thank you because I couldn’t handle hold one more time or I might kill a kitten thank you” and he replied with, “Absolutely, Ms. White. I’m really glad I could get that taken care for you.”
Got it in a little late, but day 2: compliment a stranger; check.
While slaving away on the stair climber; all 20 minutes of it; my normal cardio thought process of peanut butter, murder, searching for sharp objects, peanut butter……my thoughts were conveniently interrupted by a gorgeous lady walking by.
There was something about this lady that struck me; she had an incredible body, walked around with a certain swag to her…..she was a boss lady.
I couldn’t help but feel inspired.
After my cardio drudge, I ran into her while heading for the locker room. I stopped and said, “I just wanted to say you have a phenomenal physique and are super inspiring.”
I can’t really believe what happened next, this gorgeous, confident woman, started crying. Great; I thought. Way to try to compliment someone and make them cry Al.
But this woman, Vanessa, her name; explained to me that she had a really hard week and that was the nicest thing she had heard in a very long time.
After some chit chat later; we parted our ways. I couldn’t help but smile the rest of the day. I was catching on to something and that’s that you never know what an act of kindness can do, because you never know what battles others can be fighting.
Day 3: awesome.
Remember Ben? The very helpful paypal rep I complimented for being so helpful Tuesday; well Ben may have not has been as helpful as I thought. Long story short my “situation” with Ben and paypal wasn’t resolved, which leads me to Janette.
Janette works at my bank. Janette might possibly be a saint, because by the time I had reached customer service and 3 maxed out credit cards, I was feeling less than giving on my 7 day journey.
Janette not only handled my account perfect, she actually complimented me! Janette thanked me for being so patient; she didn’t run into that often.
Whoa; I didn’t expect to get a compliment from a stranger. I was supposed to be the one dishing out the compliments?
Day 4 had me thinking that maybe the universe does give back what you put in?
Friday: My “friendemy”
The truth is I don’t know her name. The truth is I have no idea who this girl is or the fact that I’m pretty sure this girl really can’t stand me. For the sake of conversation, let’s call her pink sneakers?
Every morning I work out at the same gym, the same time, and change in the same locker room and every morning I run into pink sneakers.
She refuses to say hello, almost always slams her stuff on the bench knocking my bag off, and takes at least 30-45 seconds to glare at me.
I’ve tried saying good morning, small talk, blatantly staring; nothing seems to budge pink sneakers and her fury towards me. So I’ve adjusted to just going on about my day usually, but this week I had a new tactic.
“I absolutely love your shoes,” I said.
“Thanks”, said pink sneakers.
We’re getting somewhere here….
“Are you taking a class?”
We’re sinking ship here…….
“Do you not like me for some reason? Because you seem like it.” I can’t believe I just said that.
Pink sneakers replies; “No, I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to come off that way, you just look like my ex-girlfriend and I can’t stand her.”
Day 5: Compliments won’t give you friends always, but they can sometimes give you understanding.
Saturday: The Fittest Family I’ve ever met.
I was working a nutritional demo for my sponsor that day and was pretty much having an awesome Saturday. I met so many cool people that day; but one family really stuck out to me and I can’t remember their names to save my life!
But anyways, I met a mom, dad, son, daughter, and fiancé that were all fitness competitors that trained together. They had so many stories; fun times, struggles, and just plain good ‘ol meat head fun. I was so inspired by them and their love for the sport!
I couldn’t compliment their attitudes and support for one another enough and I thanked them for sharing. I genuinely thanked them for sharing part of their passion with a stranger.
I couldn’t remember the last time I heard a story and thanked someone for sharing it.
Day 5: I’m not getting the hang of this; I’m learning something from this.
I can’t lie; by the time Sunday rolled around, I was feeling so good about the last couple days that I was a compliment machine!
I couldn’t help but notice that every time I looked at someone; I was observing their behavior; trying to find something good or positive to notice about them and I was finding it in everyone!
I had become so conditioned over the last couple days to look for opportunities to compliment a stranger that I completely forgot to notice bad traits about others.
I was sitting in traffic complimenting people in my head who cut me off, I was smiling at complete strangers, and dare I say it; I was genuinely enjoying my day more?
I complimented 6 strangers that day, more in one day than I’d probably done in my entire life.
So what did I learn in 7 days, with 7 strangers, and 7 compliments? A lot.
Complimenting a stranger is uncomfortable. There is no assumed reaction and most often it happens so far and few between each other, most of us don’t know how to take it.
That’s what is kina amazing about grace and kindness; it’s unassuming and therefor kina always finds place in someone’s heart; even a state of understanding between two strangers.
Putting yourself out there to bring someone up doesn’t just make you feel better; it puts two human beings at a place of respect and understanding. Like hey, been there too, and thanks for looking out.
I also learned that although as people we are preoccupied, busy, self-centered at times, and weary of one another; we also gravitate towards each other without even knowing.
So what if we took that gravitation and looked to be surprised? Looked to be impressed; with nothing other than good things about one another? What would we learn about each other then?
This isn’t the part of my post where we throw in a Pinterest “love each other” quote; this is the part where we admit that we could see each other more, be kind to one another more often, and be brave enough to look for the positive in one another and not be too afraid to express it.
So I challenge you friends. 7 days, 7 strangers, 7 compliments…….Go search for what is un-seen.
Work.Hard. Lift.Heavy Live.Blessed