Every single person on this Earth, whether or not they’ve been through school, were taught that the power of words is indeed mightier than the metaphorical sword of attack. Since the end of last winter, I’ve been affected by words of racism as a person of color due to events of the coronavirus pandemic and Black Lives Matter. Towards the end of last year, since then, I’ve been affected by people who verbally abuse each other based on personal opinions on what either makes a story work on television or which political side should be “in the right”. There is division among people due to the power of words drawing in the unnecessary negativity that’s released in the air like the plague. Almost everyone I meet nowadays are so adamant in proving their personal opinions as a factual point instead of listening to each other and trying to maintain kindness to others.
On this year’s National Compliment Day, I want to encourage others to at least try to say one kind thing to each person you meet, whether in person or online. When you talk to your parents on the phone, thank them for putting you in this world to experience life. When you accept a package or mail from a mail delivery person, give them a kind compliment for how they handled the delivery. Never dwell on the negative.
Children always see adults’ behavior and grow from watching them, emulating them. You always want to set a good example for anyone who seems to look up to you. In the teaching credential program, teacher candidates are taught and see in person how students nowadays are more encouraged to do well in schoolwork when there are acknowledged compliments before the critical critiques. When a teacher disciplines a student by starting with the negative assumptions of their lack of care in the assignment or task at hand, that student wouldn’t learn anything from that except to have it in their mindset that they will always lack in schoolwork. Starting off with compliments will always help a student gain the attention they deserve and give them the spark of hope that they can do something right.
This same principle can happen for adults, too. Adults are even more set in their ways of feeling that they are in the right with their personal beliefs because of how long they’ve lived, and the most stubborn will surprisingly be the ones who have received lack of compliments. I would highly encourage, if you can safely do so, to buy a meal for a homeless person on the streets and tell them a simple nice compliment. If you know someone who has never gone through college because they don’t believe they are smart enough to continue their education, encourage them and point out their positive attributes that they can contribute.
I know a man around my age named Cass. He lives on the east side of the country and has never had the chance to go to college like he wanted because he grew up living on the wrong side of the law and his parents did not have any money to help pay for his college tuition. Although, now he is married and works several hours per week full time, he often laments on how stupid he believes he is. Since I met Cass online, I try to help him with advice as much as possible and compliment him on his knowledge of mechanics and engineering. As of right now, he’s slowly finding the courage to apply again for FAFSA and hopefully to attend a community college to try a couple of online courses.
Complimenting others truly doesn’t cost anything and carries more kindness and power than we think. Just be sure that when you do compliment someone and go for critical analysis in their work, do not go for the back-handed strategy. One of my relatives has often told me that I appear to be very pretty, but once I lose weight and put on makeup, I’ll be even more beautiful. This backwards compliment deterred me from makeup for several years and I almost never wear makeup unless I have to for special events. It has also put a damper on any foods I enjoy and I either tend to overeat to take the pain away or not eat for several hours at a time, only eating once or twice a day for weeks on end. For a very long time, my mind believed I was never pretty enough. Thankfully, I’ve overcome that but not everyone does, noting the power of your words.
Simple, positive compliments go a long way to help encourage people and brighten up their day, opening their mindsets to the possibilities around them that they normally would not see. It may not seem like much, but compliments really do help people feel good.