Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Of Smiles, Eye Contact and Compliments

Yesterday, Linda over at Multilocus wrote a post that struck a chord with me.  She talked of taking the time to make eye contact and share a smile with another person (or people) with whom we have casual contact during a day's time.

Her post reminded me of something I wrote shortly after I started blogging in 2008.  I looked it up and decided to repeat it here today.


Years ago I made an embroidered sampler that hangs in my kitchen.  It says, "I Know I'm Efficient.  Tell Me I'm Beautiful."

An acquaintance of ours, who was a talented and well-respected physician (the last I knew he was running an AIDS hospice in the middle of New York City), stopped in briefly one day to pick up a part for his wood stove that we had ordered for him.  (We were dealers for Jotul wood stoves at the time.)

As he was standing in the doorway, I could see he was looking across the kitchen and reading my sampler.  He got a little, half-smile on his face, nodded his head slowly and said, "Ain't that the truth."

This was not a vain man who needed constant reassuring in regards to his physical attractiveness, but a well-established, highly intelligent, professional person who one would assume had all the confidence in the world.  And yet, the basic need for appreciation and reassurance of one's "beauty," be it of physical body or soul, was there just as strongly as in any of the rest of us.

Much of the time we are all too willing to loudly and frequently make fun of imperfection in body shape, grouse about personality short-falls or voice our irritation regarding the habits of those around us.

But how often do we take the time to pay someone a compliment?  "You have such gorgeous eyes."  "You have really beautiful hair."  "You have the most attractive smile."  "Your delightful laugh is so uplifting."  When wouln't it make any of us feel wonderful to be given an honest compliment?

If we would all make a conscious effort to give a compliment to one person each day for one week, I have a sneaky suspicion it would not only make a lot of people feel a momentary warm glow . . . but more likely make them feel pretty darn chirky for the whole day. 

It's those "little" things that can mean so much to each and every one of us.  We get so caught up in our lives, the hustle and bustle of our sometimes too busy days.  Yet it takes so little time to make eye contact, share a kind word and a warm smile.

So go ahead now, and tell me I'm beautiful.  (Oh, wait.  I don't suppose it counts for much if one asks for the compliment.  Drat.)

35 comments:

Marie said...

beautiful words .... are just as important -- thanks for the reminder ..

Woman Seeking Center said...

Well said and oh-so-true.

I honestly think the way empathy and kindness are lost in a society is the exact same way they can be regained: one act of deliberate individual caring at a time!

(And I love your sampler quote - something every newlywed couple should get as a wedding gift, lol)

Thanks for a great post

Issy

Carolyn said...

Great post, and great reminder.
And btw, your sampler handiwork is beautiful :)

Sparkless said...

Wonderful reminder. I'm going to make sure to give a heartfelt compliment to all my loved ones as soon as I see each of them.

Mama Pea said...

Marie - You're welcome!

Mama Pea said...

Woman Seeking - Thank you for the kind words. Although it sometimes may seem that one person can't make a difference, in truth it has to start with one person. Let's do it!

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - Why thank you, ma'am. Wish I had dated the sampler when I made it . . . I'm thinking it has to be at least 35+ years old. (I made it when I was 4. Hahahahaha!)

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - And I'll betcha each and every one of them will feel good because of it!

beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DFW said...

Amen Sister! My Grandma always said "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. But, if you can, something nice." I admit I don't always follow her advice, but if I did I can assure you that I would feel better about myself.

LindaCO said...

Thanks for passing the sentiment on. I'm all for feeling chirky as often as possible!

Leigh said...

You're beautiful! And that was a beautiful post. Timeless truth, so necessary to be reminded of.

Little Homestead In Boise said...

You're so inspirational!!!

Ilene Jones said...

Great post. I think looking people in the eyes is so very important, especially when they are talking. I saw this suggested somewhere, way back when I was a teenager and started making a habit of it then. I got so I never really thought much about it until one day our preacher told my mom, "I always look for Ilene in the congregation, she watches my eyes while I give the message and it always makes my day!"

We don't think much about it especially now, with all the technology, but people need face-to-face contact. And to tell someone you see something special in them is enough to totally turn their day around. Definitely a "pay it forward" thing.

Not only are you beautiful. You're smart. Hugs, Ilene

Lisa said...

Terrific post! Great words to live by.

Susan said...

Even though I know you have a hard time accepting compliments, may I say that you are, indeed beautiful. In all aspects of the word - inside and out. Thank you for this lovely post. And I LOVE the sampler!

Mama Pea said...

Beth - Samplers are fun in that (usually) they aren't too big!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - Funny how being thoughtful and nice to others makes us feel better! Just like smiling even when you don't feel like it lifts one's mood. A lesson to be learned there. :o]

Mama Pea said...

LindaCO - That's for sure!!

Mama Pea said...

Leigh - Thank you, thank you!

Mama Pea said...

Little Homestead in Boise - Thank you, but I'm not so sure about that! I get inspiration from all you other wonderful bloggers in so many ways . . .

Mama Pea said...

Ilene Jones - You know, I'll bet your eye contact did mean an awful lot to that preacher! He might have gotten a little discouraged to look out at the congregation during his sermon and see so many folks looking anywhere but at him! I must admit I never thought a lot about making eye contact with any speaker. I need to remember that.

Thank you so much for your kinds words, Ilene.

Mama Pea said...

Lisa - Wish I had a little voice in my head reminding me until things like that became a habit! Thanks, Lisa.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I'm blushing. You are now in my will. (But don't get too excited about that.) ;o}

Candy C. said...

Love your sampler and what a nice post! Here in our small town, we do all tend to look each other in the eye, smile and say hello. It is so nice after living in the city for many years. :)

judy said...

In my book ,if it counts ,your as beautiful, inside as out ,nuff said!

Trailshome said...

Love the sampler and the idea. I'm actually writing about a whole different compliment. Sometimes simple things are just the best ideas ever and we don't think of them unless somebody brings up the idea.

A long time ago, you posted the idea of clipping chives into short lengths and freezing them. I was so amazed. What a great idea! I have a woods that is carpeted in wild chives or garlic, and I quickly went out into the woods with a basket and scissors, clipped them into a short dice and put them in the freezer. I use them often, and think of you each time I dip my fingers into that green goodness that sparkles my meals. Thank you for bringing up that great and simple idea that enhances my dinner so often.

Each time I do, I send a good thought and thanks to you. Did you feel it coming your way? I do appreciate all the good ideas, whether they're simple or complex.

Kristina said...

I love this post. Well said.

Mama Pea said...

Candy C. - Thanks, Candy. Small town living certainly does have many advantages, doesn't it?

Mama Pea said...

judy - You. are. a. sweetheart! Hugs, to you and hope things are going well.

Mama Pea said...

Trailshome - Aw, what a sweet comment! Thank you! (Now I'm going to be thinking about YOU each time I dip into my container of chives!) When I come across some simple idea like that I marvel that it never occurred to me. I mean, some things are so simple (and easy or good or time-saving) and yet it never enters my head to do them until someone else shows the way. 'Tis a big thing I love about this blogging world . . . I learn so much and am often inspired. I am tickled I could pass something along to someone else. Thanks for taking the time to communicate your feelings with me.

Mama Pea said...

Thanks, Kristina!

Anonymous said...

Oh this is so true Mama Pea! Thanks for the reminder :)

http://caffeinatedhomestead.weebly.com/blog.html

Mama Pea said...

You're so welcome, Stephanie!

Mama Pea said...

Hey, judy - I wrote an e-mail in answer to yours but it came back as "undeliverable." Do you have another e-mail address?