And I have no idea what to write about. So I've decided to settle on something that I am comfortable with: giving compliments.
One of my pleasures in life is giving people genuine and sincere appreciation. There is something very pleasant in the way their faces light up with happiness (or embarrassment!) when they hear a compliment. It has been a great way for me to appreciate things. And that has been a source of inspiration. It motivates me want to do better myself and it makes me happy that there is another 'good' thing out there in the world. Things I find worth appreciating like talents, qualities, achievements are a testimony to the greatness in human spirit.
I remember when I read an interview of the author, Matthew Reilly, of a book called Area 7. He said two things that stayed with me - One, when asked the best advice for an aspiring writer, he said 'There's no such thing as an aspiring writer. You are a writer, period' and second, he stated later that one of the best gifts one can give an upcoming writer is a compliment. It reminded me of the time when I was trying to pick up writing as a real hobby. Compliments had been one of the things that kept me going.
You never know when a compliment may cheer up a sad heart. You never know when it could turn someone's bad day around. You never really know how much a compliment may matter to someone. I remember times when I've really worked on things and then didn't receive the praise I felt I deserved. It stung. There were other times when I thought I'd flunked badly in things and yet everyone would be around congratulating me and making me feel better.
I sometimes think that compliments are like bouquets of flowers - except that they stay fresh in mind. It's wonderful to think back to the past times and remember the kind compliments I've been showered with.
Of course, a compliment doesn't always have to be certain words said out loud. It can be respecting a person's opinions, listening when the person speaks, being patient when someone rambles, caring when the person asks for help, giving surprise gifts to cheer someone up...Just a way of showing them that there is something about them that's valuable.
Some may say that things are more impersonal now. It is an era which almost requires us to make friends for personal gain, say, to schmooze an official to get our way or send extravagant gifts to important business colleagues. Witness the boom in mass production of generic greeting cards and gifts. It's picked up in a store, giftwrapped, addressed and sent on its way. But there is still space for meaningful gifts isn't there? Those misspelled words that make up a child's first poems, the shaky lines that draw a house on the cover of a special greeting card just for you. Of course, there are also those unique gifts that are thoughtful and kind and may come from friends, family, acquaintances or even strangers.
As life becomes ever more fast paced, there is perhaps not enough time always for those quiet walks in nature, reflective meditations and regular festivities. On the deepest level, a compliment is an assurance to us that we're doing fine.
So this Christmas, here's a salute from me to all those cool, talented, wonderful people I've been lucky enough to know and appreciate. And a special thanks to all those who've ever complimented me.
I think I'll end with these thoughts for now
"Nothing makes people so worthy of compliments as receiving them. One is more delightful for being told one is delightful -- just as one is more angry for being told one is angry" - Katherine F. Gerould
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around - Leo F. Buscagalia
May you receive many sincere compliments in the new year to come :)