Saturday, January 15, 2011

Com-pli-ments

Have you ever thought about how superficial compliments are. "I love your shoes" "That dress is so cute on you" "I have a necklace like that, but it looks a million times better on you" "Oh my, have you lost, like, two and a half pounds? You look sooo skinny." "Those hair extensions are so hot." The list is a million miles long. It's all so shallow. And what's worse, it genuinely makes us feel better. Isn't it a little sad that we care so much about how people feel about our clothes. All that says about me is that I was willing to spend money on shoes. Is that really something to be proud of?
I've started working on giving compliments to people, meaning a characteristic that defines them, rather than just an article of clothing. It's easier to compliment clothing. It's obvious and doesn't take sincerity. But real compliments are hard. They take really knowing a person and a little bit of bravery.
But think about it. I really think sincere compliments could change the world. What if instead of hoping for a perfect hair day or to find the perfect pair of jeans, we strived for something more. What if you heard "you're really gentle, especially with shy people. I appreciate that" "You are the best listener I know. I love talking to you." "Thanks for always smiling at me. It makes my day." Wouldn't that mean so much more than a comment on your outfit or manicure? I think that if characteristics are what we compliment, then characteristics will be what we come to value.
Maybe someday we can have magazines dedicated to people of exceptional substance, rather than beauty.

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