Yesterday I received an email from a first-time reader of my book, “I am amazed.” She took the time to tell me how much it meant to her, and how she was going to share it with her retreat groups. It was a small collection of words that fit perfectly into that space of my heart, and filled it.
I am one of the lucky ones. My mother never left me unsure of how she felt about me, how I looked, or how I performed. She was free with her compliments.
Without this, I’m not certain I would have had the strength to enter a creative life — a life in which vulnerability is at the very base – a life where people judge you, critique you, correct you, and often just remain silent. Oof – that silence can be brutal. But it is also a life in which people will share — and share not just compliments, but even better, their stories. What a gift to receive. It’s what connects us.
I will forever be grateful for every time I picked up the phone while wiping the paint off of the chipped floor, and the person on the other end was so excited that I answered. Me. What a feeling! It was like someone racing to greet you at the airport. It was John Cusak holding the boombox under your windowsill. It was the cheerleader’s cartwheel. The crowds roar! This, my friends, is the power of a compliment.
Please never be afraid to give it to anyone. Tell them “That’s a great color on you.” “You look positively svelte in those pants.” “I was totally impressed by your work!” “Your phone call meant so much to me.” “Your cake is delicious!” “You are strong!” “You are brave!” “You are joy to be around!”
It is an amazing world, filled with amazing people. I know I am so lucky to “fumble along beside you.” And I am “happily, joyfully, and gratefully amazed!”