Friday, October 10, 2008

The Compliment Campaign

Yesterday I was watching something on the History Channel and they were quoting Socrates. I had to wonder how Socrates would feel knowing his words were still being repeated hundreds of years after his passing. I am sure he would be pretty thrilled. Words have a great deal of power.

It's an election year and candidates are campaigning pretty hard. The thing I don't like about today's politics are how easily words are thrown around. It seems to be common practice to smear the opponent and make promises they don't intend to keep. Why would I want to vote for someone who would go around insulting people? Those types of words have power as well, and they set a bad example and a glimpse of their future practices as a politician. I decided to set out on a campaign of my own. No, I am not running for office, but I am on a campaign to make words count for something.

A while back I went to the grocery store looking dreadful. I haven't been feeling all that well and get fatigued easy so I don't always do myself up as much as normal. (Yes I have been to the doctor and I know what's causing it. There isn't anything to be done about it however.) At any rate I threw on sweats, no make up and ran out the door. As I was checking out a woman passed by and told me I had the most beautiful hair. It made me feel good on a bad day. It's funny how the kind words of a stranger noticing something can really give you that little boost.

I also think it's important to accept a compliment gracefully. It's kind of funny because all too often people will down play the nice thing someone says. I am not sure why we do that. I look upon a compliment as a little gift someone has given you. They took time and went out of their way to do it for you, so to do anything less than accept it would be rude. I always say thank you whenever anyone offers me a gift.

Being a "pay it forward" kind of girl, the next time I was out shopping I saw a woman who was clearly having a bad day. Her body language and lack of smile spoke volumes. She was wearing a really nice outfit though, and I decided to tell her I thought it was nice. As I walked away, her spine had straightened up and she had a little smile on her face. I felt better too, because I had said something instead of just mentally noting it and saying nothing. A couple days ago I was in Target waiting to check out and a woman with three young children was in line. When I got into line the kids were looking at something hanging in the impulse buy section near the register. The little girl looked up and saw me and said; "Oh I am sorry, excuse us." Then she led her little brother away by the hand. Now keeping in mind these children weren't even in my way. I was so impressed. As she was finished paying I leaned over and told her that I thought her children were very polite. She broke into an ear to ear smile and said proudly; "We have been working on that!" On the way out I noticed she had stopped to buy them ice cream. They deserved it.

So that is my campaign. To try to give at least one stranger a compliment whenever I am out in public. My only rule is that it has to be a sincere compliment. I would never give a false compliment. Nor would I want to receive one. On the home front I think it's important to give loved ones a compliment every once in a while too, just so they know we don't take them for granted. I may not win any elections with my campaign, but I don't have use smear tactics either!


Laura said...

What a lovely idea. What a difference it makes to others to hear a stranger take a moment to say a kind word. Thanks for sharing. I hope others follow your lead!

Kelly said...

Thank you very much Melissa, I am so glad you were inspired!

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