Thursday, October 14, 2010


One of the many, many things Zoe is learning about at school these days is the compliment.  She's learning what a compliment is.  She's mastering it, although many times she still feels the need to give the compliment and then inform the complimentee that what she just said was, indeed, a compliment.  I, in turn, am learning the power of a compliment.  Not in receiving giving them.

The other day I left work all full of piss and vinegar.  It's not that my job is bad or stressful (it's not, at all, especially given where I came from), but because of things that happened with several projects that were beyond my control.  And we all know how much I love a lack of control.  Plus, I had to fill my boss in on these things that were of the "oh, shit!" variety and less of the "way cool!" kind.  I don't mind doing that; it's part of business.  But when you have three or four things like that in one day, and you get to e-mail your boss about it b/c he's out of town (at budget meetings, no less, which means he's already in a special kind of hell), well, that can start to get a girl down.  Don't get me boss is great.  My angst was entirely self-afflicted.  But angst it was and I stalked out of work ready to pull a tree out of the ground with my bare hands.

I drove to pick up Zoe, lecturing myself to snap out of it already as she deserves a calm, happy mommy who is easily willing to listen to the harmonica for hours on end.  I looked at the fall leaves on the trees, which usually makes me happy.  I cranked up the radio.  I willed myself to be happy, dammit.  No dice.  Nothing was working.  But then I started thinking about what Zozer is learning in school, and I wondered if making someone else's day would just maybe make mine a little brighter.  It was worth a try, and so I began my little experiment.

When I parked the car at Zoe's school and got out, I beamed a huge grin at the first person I saw (despite the fact that I didn't feel like smiling one bit, thankyouverymuch).  She was harried, and dragging her child across the lot by one arm, the other arm loaded down with papers and artwork and a purse and a jacket...the usual mommy burden.  Despite the exasperated expression on her face, she was immaculately put together.  Flawless.  And she had great shoes.  So that's what I went with.  "Wow, those shoes are fantastic!"

Her expression completely changed, just like that.  She grinned back, loosened the grip on her child, and said, "Thanks!  They're my favorite pair!"  And just like that, we both felt better.  How easy was that?

So I'm on a mission to give out compliments like the Easter Bunny gives out candy.  Compliments are free, you get just as much out of it as if you had received one yourself, and the whole energy around you improves.  I haven't found one person who didn't appreciate a compliment.  I told the cashier at McDonald's yesterday (where I went to get a sweet tea after running an errand for work) that I loved her purple hair.  I told a colleague that I adored her commitment to obsessively tracking all packages shipped by our company.  I told a vendor she was doing a great job on a campaign we just launched.  All of these people, who looked and sounded dour and disgusted just a minute before, immediately brightened.

I dare you to try this.  I dare you to look for the positive in people, and then share with them what you see.  And then I dare you to not feel wonderful about it.
M is home tonight.  Yay!
ZoeMobile did indeed need a new battery.  Boo!
But it's back to being its solid, reliable self.  Yay!
Which means I don't have an excuse to take The Fun Car.  Boo!
Got to see old friends last night. And laugh, and love, and share.  Yay!

Special shout-out to my FIL, who once again, for the second time in a little over three years, followed me and my gimpy car up to Sam's for a new battery.  And then sat at my house while I spent time catching up with my friends.  I need to get him a superhero cape or something for Christmas.  Thanks, Dad!


Anonymous Tifferz said...

Speaking of compliments...your blog brightens up many days of your readers. I always enjoy your thoughts, they make me smile, so thank you! :)

1:12 PM  

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