Compliments are an expression of KINDNESS.
They are an act of GENEROSITY beyond measure
Simple yet profound in their impact on others and on us.
SHARE your encouraging words, your smile, you Self this day
and feel the richness of life pour through you.
I was standing there pumping gas around 7a.m. wearing running shorts and a T-shirt with a folded bandana pulling my hair back off my face – my usual look coming to and from a run or workout. Spoken in the tone of a true Southern gentleman with voice as sweet as the tea they serve here in Tennessee, I heard: Excuse me Ma’am…You have great legs. I turned slowly taking a moment to confirm this twenty-something year old man was actually talking to me and smiled with every fiber of my being as I responded enthusiastically with a roaring voice: Wellllll… THANK YOU!!!! He asked with a tone of purely gathering information if I was a runner and went on to say that he knew I must be a runner with a pair of legs like that; and without taking a breath added he makes it a practice all day long to offer compliments to others when he sees something worth commenting on. I thanked him again for noticing and finding my legs worth commenting on. We wished each other a Good Day as he walked inside the gas station and I got into my car.
Being addressed as Ma’am can sometimes leave me feeling out of sorts, wanting to reject the label as I don’t identify with this, but in this case, I didn’t mind a bit. I must say it had a nice ring to it. People can call me Ma’am all day long if they throw a compliment like that in the mix. I don’t mind sharing that I had an extra bounce in my step all day long after receiving the generosity of this stranger and wished the weather had been warmer so I could have rocked a skirt for my night out. Now, my late-husband, John would have teased me that the young man was trying to get me in the sack and I am naïve to believe otherwise. But his sincerity in simply wanting to express kindness was undeniable to me and truly lovely. He helped me see my legs in a new light because although I appreciate them for their strength allowing me to enjoy running and carrying me through my days, I am used to them and don’t sit around thinking I have great legs!
Shortly after this experience, I got on the elevator with a woman who lives in my building. She was wearing a gorgeous bright cranberry blouse that made her eyes pop. Elevator rides can be awkward in a look down at your feet and say nothing way. But I was inspired and had to tell her how beautiful she was and how that color brightened her eyes. She thanked me over and over, smirking shyly as she tried to contain her smile that was bursting from the inside-out.
What a wonderful reminder that the simple practices of kindness like offering a compliment, holding a door, looking someone in the eye and saying Hello! or smiling at them as you pass by cast a net so wide that we truly cannot measure the impact. When I meet people like this man, I am in awe believing they are the enlightened sages in this world that go around sprinkling joy along the paths they walk. They do this with no agenda – not to prove they are good or win a special place in the heavens but because it feels so damn good to live generously. They get that life is rich and even richer when we connect heart to heart with other human beings we meet.
The invitation is to SHARE your encouraging words, your smile, your Self generously this day and feel the richness of life pour through you!
P.S. Have to share that I just got a text from my girlfriend, Linda with a special message from my Goddaughter, Sara who is 9 telling me she loves me like chocolate. Now, that is the highest compliment a girl can receive, but I still savor the sweetness of the words: Excuse me Ma’am…you have great legs!