Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Each Day I Compliment Someone"

I don't make New Years resolutions, but it's interesting to see what other people want to change.  Yesterday, in Amy Dickinson's column I saw one of the best resolutions ever:
Dear Amy: I made this resolution last year and am doing it again this year.
Each day I compliment someone. The lady in front of me in line with a pretty scarf, the family in a restaurant with well-behaved children, the person who holds a door for me, the person who assists me on the phone, etc.
It forces me to look for the good in people and makes someone's day pleasant. — Cecelia Lovas

It's so simple.  So easy to do.  And so powerful.  Imagine, someone is tired, feeling unappreciated, and there you are saying, "Wow, you really helped me.  I truly appreciate the extra effort you made."  And suddenly some sort of chemical reaction happens and the person lights up.  As long as it's genuine.   This is such an painless way to make the world a better place by raising the feel good quotient of someone each day.  And once you get used to looking someone in the eye and giving a sincere thank you for some small favor or service, you can do more than one a day.   I'm sure the drug companies don't want us to know how easily we can replace their happy pills just by being nice to each other.  And no bad side effects either.  And it's free.  And each of us has this power if we only use it. 

It doesn't have to be a New Year's resolution.  You can just put "Compliment someone" on your todo list each day. 

Cecelia Lovas - you have a great idea there.  Thanks!


  1. Someone challenged me to do this 15 years ago. I don't always manage the every day thing but I try.
    One of the not-apparent until you work at it effects is a richer experience of mundane life for the complimenter... the everyday world changes. It is repopulated with real live discrete individuals making their way around the landscape much as yourself.
    The compliment on how lovely that cherry red coat looks turns into shared memories of mothers bundling you both into so many coats and hats and mittens you could barely move but you knew how much mama loved you so you kept quiet...
    The thank you to someone doing an endlessly repetitious job well, the gal at the DMV window, the bagger at the grocery, the bus driver opening the door for you, somehow breathes fresh purpose into all the things we do which can become stale without reminders of the real live people involved .
    It all sounds touchy-feely nicey but it's much, much more than that. Moments of epiphany, glimpses of big truths, all those biggies are rare. On the ground , where we live most of our lives, is simply richer when we work at being where we are instead of looking past or beyond or beside ourselves...

  2. Wow Alaskapi - You articulated so well why I think this is so powerful. Some people may talk about "touchy-feely" with disdain, but making someone happy, even for a moment, is not to be taken lightly. And not giving people due respect will destroy all the efforts of the people with the 'scientific' solutions. Thanks for saying this so well.

  3. When people have to spend effort and use discipline to do this, it may imply - at least partly - how bad human in general is. I have been complimenting small niceties for years; yet sometimes, I can't help thinking many people are purely nuisance because they really are.


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