Saturday, August 14, 2010

"What A Cute Bag!"

Hearing and receiving a compliment can go a long way toward brightening your spirit and outlook. I read something that made me reflect on this and had the realization that it has been ages since I've gotten one. And boy I miss it. I want to know that I look nice, or my outfit looks good or the color of my shirt compliments my complexion. Just something to know that I've been noticed and perceived favorably. These days I feel invisible much of the time.

Since widowhood, the aloneness of not sharing a life with a partner has led to some realizations. One of which is that I don't think people in general hear enough good things about themselves. So in an effort of scattering random acts of kindness, I became much more verbal in giving compliments when I'm out and about. This has been going on a number of years and increased two-fold after widowhood. I'm not a shy person so have always been willing to chat in check out lines and such. But now I seem to be on the lookout for noticing other people and wanting to convey positive comments about them.

Usually, it is about someone's appearance, their outfit, haircut, cute purse, shoes or coat. Sometimes I will remark about an interesting item in their shopping cart or notice the book they are reading. I have been known (to the horror of my sons while they are in the car) to stop in front of people's homes when they are out gardening to say, "I've been driving by your yard for years and it always makes me smile, it is so lovely and well-tended." For all the hype about Karma and receiving back what you give out, I don't hear many compliments in return. Kind of sad. Right now the compliment bank is on empty. And we can all use words of recognition and praise.

Being recognized came pretty naturally while I was married. My husband would compliment my cooking and the work or school reports I asked him to proof read. Whenever I bought I new outfit, I'd model it for him for his feedback, usually positive. I didn't feel neglected or invisible. We'd go out and I'd dress for the occassion because I wanted to look good for him, to please him and make him proud. It was important. I still want to look good for myself but the incentive isn't as driving as it was in the past.

"You look nice today." The power those four words can bring. To feel important and valued to someone. When I feel invisible, I begin to doubt myself. To assume I'm ugly, unattractive and getting dull.

A jewelry store has buttons printed with the message "You are loved." I think we all need to know and hear this. Yet living alone, reduces our opportunities to gain positive recognition. I don't care about my educational achievements or my parenting abilities. Sometimes we just need to hear a superficial "What a great haircut" to bring a smile and a sense of worthiness.


  1. This is a great message to share. I too try to mention when I take notice about something someone is wearing, doing, or exuding. It doesn't take much effort to give someone a little positive feedback, and to make them feel good. An easy, inexpensive gift.

    By the way, your hair looks really nice tonight!

  2. Dan - It is very nice to hear from you because I know there have been many major changes in your life this summer!

  3. I too try to let someone know that I have noticed something special about them. I think it has been lost in the chaos of life. Thanks for the post -- a very good one! You are loved!!!

  4. I've been mostly lurking, but I'll jump in and say: I appreciate how well you always write your posts. They are clearly worded, well organized, and always perfect in terms of grammar and spelling. They have a theme, a point, and a lot of thought behind them. And you never, ever mix up "there," "their," and "they're" -- a huge pet peeve of mine! :-) Well done!


  5. Beth - Today at the grocery store I noticed a middle-aged mom in the cutest green skirt and white top. She got into the checkout line after me and I told her how much I liked her outfit. She replied that it was eight years old! I do agree that we seem to have lost that something special in the chaos of life and it is sad. I wonder if it is because we are widowed that we see another side of life - the one of simpler pleasures. Maybe we are just more observant of our surroundings and we slow down to smell the flowers. Anyway, thanks for your kindness and spreading the love!

  6. ARB - I love and appreciate your comments! It is nice to receive compliments based on the technicalities of my writing instead of the subject matter. I do contemplate what I set out to post about. There is usually an intended point. A lot of my posts are to help me clarify my issues and I hope that in sharing them, maybe they'll result in some good or understanding to others. I laughed about your references to spelling because my trusty dictionary is always by my side. I do hope I'm forgiven, however, if ever a word isn't correctly spelled. Thanks for jumping in!