A few months back, I attended a “Ladies’ only” function. In the fauji life, we regularly have such functions, where we meet other ladies in the station to socialise, eat, drink and have fun. These are called “Ladies Meets”. Generally there is a central theme assigned to each meet, and the guests are expected to be sporting enough to dress according to the theme. This particular meet must have had some informal theme because I remember being dressed accordingly, in a short dress. As we reached the venue, a lady much younger to me, said, ” I love your dress”. Feeling pleased, I thanked her and took a seat. She said further, “I like all your dresses and am an admirer. I just didn’t say this to you all this while, because I didn’t want to come across as a flatterer.” “Hey!” I said. “There’s no way I could have thought that. In fact, you just made my day.” And sure enough, it was true, because I smiled throughout the day after this conversation. In fact, I went back home and bragged quite a bit to my husband about the compliment! See, what a positive effect a sincere compliment has on any person! So why aren’t most people generous with praise and compliments?
One sees so many people hesitating and not knowing how to sincerely praise someone else. They may be comfortable doling out flippant compliments, sometimes out of social niceties and sometimes just for the heck of it. But when it comes to an honest appreciation or a heartfelt compliment, they hold back. Hey ,why is that so? Are we so shallow that we don’t want to give appreciation where it is deserved? What’s holding us back from giving a person his/her due? Some soul searching, and you will get the answer.
There is a flip side to this too. Many people don’t know how to “accept” and “receive ” compliments in a gracious manner. You praise them for something and they will either not respond or look at you suspiciously as if you are secretly mocking them. Now, I have always been a “compliment giver “. And specially after my mother’s untimely demise, I don’t hold back anything inside me. When you go through a life altering experience like this, you stop sweating the small stuff. There is a certain realization about the fickle nature of life and you want to make other people’s life easy and pleasant. If I like something about someone, you can be sure that I will say it aloud and be generous in doling out the praise. At times I see people giving a suspicious stare and at times they pretend that haven’t heard it. Some people start to explain why they don’t deserve the compliment. For god’s sake, just smile and accept it gracefully. Why do we find it so difficult to accept the fact that someone finds us praiseworthy? We all need to be a bit more relaxed, a lot less self conscious and a helluva lot more generous to be able to appreciate another being, and more importantly, to be able to express the appreciation in a fruitful manner.
So what are we waiting for? Life is short. What is the point in saving so many words inside you and then regretting years later that you had blurted them out? Don’t play mind games. Don’t worry about whether the person gets you or not. I think the word is “sincerity”. If you are unfailingly sincere in your words of appreciation, people are bound to understand sooner or later. Even if they don’t, you know you have done your bit and tried. I see so many people looking for “causes” to associate with, in the name of social work. In my opinion, there is no greater social service than being genuinely kind and respectful in our daily interaction with other people. So, see that person you just praised and appreciated? You just made his/her day and made the world a bit more pleasant, a lot more tolerable for that person. You never know, your words might be like water to his/her parched soul, magical music to his/her ears. Be lavish in your praise. Don’t be stingy with your words of kindness.
Feel good about someone? Say it. Appreciate someone’s hard work and effort? Say it. Get good vibes from someone? Say it. Love someone’s outfit? Say it. See a silent worker around you? Acknowledge his/her sincerity. Sense your spouse’s devotion? SAY IT, for heaven’s sake! What’s stopping you? Go ahead. Out with it! Don’t hold back.
JUST. SAY. IT.
© Aug 2017 Sapna Dhyani Devrani