Last week I received this email from Kendall at knormanproofreading:
Hi, Erika! I don’t have a proofreading project...but I am a fellow proofreader, and I HAD to tell you that your website is AWESOME!! I came across your board on Pinterest, and it brought me to your website. This may sound weird, but I figure you never know who might be having a bad day and needs to hear that someone is proud of them. That’s how I felt when I saw your website—you are doing an awesome job, and I just really felt like saying, “I’m proud of you!” NICE JOB and keep going! =)
As you can imagine, this brought the biggest smile to my face. I have put in a lot of work on my website so getting praise for it totally made my day!
I have the same philosophy as Kendall; If you think something nice about someone, you should tell them! Most people struggle to see their own positive qualities and have no idea that you are admiring their work/style/hair/humor.
In this social media based society it's so easy to feel inadequate. In a world full of air-brushed photos and peppy "Look how great my life is!" updates, how are we supposed to be satisfied with what we have? After all, it will never be as good as what [insert braggy friend or famous person here] has.
That's why it's so important to help the people around you appreciate and realize what they have. Tell the girl in the coffee shop you love her dress, thank your coworker for their help on your latest project, and leave your partner a note saying how much you appreciate them cleaning up the kitchen after the big dinner party.
It doesn't really matter if it's something big or small;
The point is to show them that you see them.
So many of us feel invisible. So many of us think that no one notices. Take the two seconds out of your day and tell the barista you see every morning what a great smile she has, and how much you appreciate her always being friendly and happy even during the worst rush hour. Speaking from experience, hearing that after hours of non-stop work with grumpy customers yelling at you completely changes the day.
Photo by Brooke Cagle
If you have social anxiety this probably sounds like the scariest thing ever. Go up to a stranger and talk to them?! What, am I crazy?
I totally get where you're coming from, believe me. The thing is, this is actually a great way to practice speaking to strangers! It's very quick and will be over before you know it -- and since all the encounters will be positive, you retrain your brain to realize that people aren't that scary after all. It won't happen overnight, but this is something very simple you can do that over time will get you where you want to be.
Just imagine how you could be the only good thing to happen to that person all day. You never really know about people's lives; all you can do is do your best to brighten it just a little bit.
Challenge: Pay attention to the people around you, and compliment someone every day this week. If it feels scary, start with friends and family. It can be easy to take people close to you for granted, so maybe that's exactly what they need!
Also pay attention to how they react, to what impact your words have on them. Carry that with you and let it fuel your next act of kindness.
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