Remember what it was like when you were little and thought you could be a doctor, or a fireman, or an astronaut — or President of the United States when you grew up? Why was that?
I believe it’s because as kids most of us got continuous praise from our parents.
When did that stop? Why did that stop?
I’ve been thinking a lot about giving and getting compliments lately — mostly because “new guy” is so generous in lavishing praise on me. Maybe that’s typical of most new romantic couplings, but not in my experience.
I think it takes a confident person to give a compliment…and to receive one. I’m learning that while I’m very confident in the professional arena, I’m less so in my personal life — and accepting compliments on my looks or my cooking abilities is harder than you’d think. (But I’m getting better every day!)
Getting positive feedback gives you a little lift. I know there’s been more of a spring in my step lately. So I’m making an effort to give more compliments.
Oftentimes I think about how much I appreciate someone’s friendship, am grateful or their help, or just look forward to seeing them because I enjoy their company. I don’t share these thoughts with them enough. That stops right now.
In an earlier post I shared that my girlfriend’s daughter got “Letters of Affirmation” as part of a Confirmation ritual. I was going to wait until next Valentine’s Day to send my Letters of Affirmation to those I care about, but why wait? I’m going to sprinkle little “statements of affirmation” on everyone I care about regularly!
For the last 25 years I’ve been carrying around this precious little piece of paper — its a poem that a friend wrote for me in high school. It’s my own Letter of Affirmation. They may not be the prettiest words in the world, but they mean the world to me:
You are the most stubborn flower, pounding the earth with the majesty of a horse — without “tither” in the noonday sun. Who’s greeting now forges your soul.
You are the giggling celebration of life itself — tumbling downhill in the grass. Free to dance, high heels at arms length, announcing “fuck it” to your nylons.
You are embracement without words. Listening like gravity with its eyes closed.