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.