I have a history of making friends of perfect strangers - while waiting in line, with my waiter, a stranger in a grocery store - for some reason, my introvert side slips away and I can strike up a conversation with anyone. But, my shyness would creep back up when it came to adding a compliment to the equation.
The thoughts will come to me:
She is so beautiful.
That was so kind of him.
I love their style.
But I internalize the thought. I would let the moment pass and the compliment left unspoken.
I don't know when the turning point was for me exactly. But one day I decided to put myself out there and give voice to my admiration.
And it was a rush.
A jolt of adrenaline.
As I spoke - I saw my words bring joy. I saw faces light up - and even well up with tears. The words mattered.
What would it be like to live in a world where we weren't afraid to give the compliment? To show kindness to strangers?
As I was sharing these thoughts with a friend, she shared a valid observation, "The other day, I thought this man was really handsome and I was nervous to say anything because I didn't want him to think I was hitting on him." I thought and responded, "If it comes from a genuine place, it will come across as genuine." I wasn't; sure if this was true - but I have to believe that genuine compliments are possible without threat of misinterpretation.
My challenge: the next time you think a compliment about someone - anyone - SAY IT.
Let the words have meaning. I guarantee you will not be sorry - and neither will the recipient.