Last week my husband and I were discussing how interesting it is that sometimes a perfect stranger’s compliments are more meaningful than ones from our closest loved ones. We both agreed that these comments are meaningful because they are not necessary and are not self-seeking. While I compliment Chris all the time, he already knows that I love him and that I want to make him happy. The guy who took five minutes to email him after meeting for coffee didn’t need to take the time out of his day. He wasn’t trying to sell Chris anything nor did he feel the need to make Chris happy for any particular reason. He didn’t have his own agenda in mind, he simply noticed something in Chris that was worthy of commenting on.
Personally, I’ve experienced the same thing. Maybe we all have a desire to know or understand how we are known to the outside world. We are all so complex and we know all of the good and ugly thoughts that exist in our own minds. Seldom do we truly get a glimpse of what we look like to the outside world.
Since having this conversation last week, I’ve made a conscious effort to tell people what I’m thinking about them. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Last week while I was at the gym working out I noticed a man in his seventies with really muscular, amazing looking legs. As he walked by me, I decided to tell him. It felt kind of strange, like I was hitting on him, but as soon as it came out of my mouth I was glad I said it. He was really nice and the compliment was well received. I learned that he’s been a life long runner. Since then, I’ve practiced this exercise several times. It’s not that I’m trying to come up with compliments for people. I’m really not. I’m just trying to express the positive thoughts that I already have in my mind.
One of my favorite kids’ books that I read to the boys is called “The Pout Pout Fish”. Basically, the fish has a pouty looking face so he has a glum attitude to go along with it. That was until a lady fish, who was a perfect stranger, came up and planted a kiss right on his pout. With that, the fish realized that he wasn’t a pout-pout fish at all. He was actually a “kiss-kiss fish with a kiss-kiss face” and he was spreading “cheery-cheeries” all over the place.
Hopefully, by working up the courage to express our thoughts, we can all start spreading cheery-cherries all over the place. After all, who doesn’t want to hear that they have something extraordinary. And, as God’s children, don’t we all have something that is?