Monday, October 12, 2009

A Compliment

Posted by Terry McNichols

My husband's niece (she's mine, too!) wrote something in her excellent blog that reminded me of an event that occurred long ago.  Emily  wrote:
It’s amazing, isn’t it, how one small compliment can make your day?  When a co-worker compliments my skirt, I walk with a little more confidence.  Once, when a friend sent me a thank-you note written on a pretty Post-it, I kept it stuck to my desk for years.  I can still remember the text: “Emily, you have done a wonderful job with all of this!  BRAVO!”  It referred to some music I had written down for her, I think, but the text was generic enough for me to glance at it from time to time and pretend she was complimenting my organizational technique, my classroom preparedness, or my bruschetta.

After reading this post, I went to an old jewelry box that I haven't opened in years and pulled out a worn post-it note-sized piece of pink paper.  (Incidentally, post-its came out in 1980, so this is actually pre-post-it note!  Can you believe we actually got along without them for so many years?)  My husband and I were living in Charleston, S.C., where he was finishing his medical training.  I made a comment in a women's group about not really having any strengths.  That so surprised a dear friend that she and her husband made a list of my strengths that were apparent to others.  I was so taken aback by her willingness to take the time to assess and write out the list!  But mostly, I was affirmed in the things that were then, and still are, my strengths.  My friend said that I had an "eager, open approach to life, a great sense of humor, and was absolutely faithful in carrying out responsibilities."  Her husband said I was energetic and "pretty," for which I was extremely grateful!

I carried that pink piece of paper in my wallet for many years, pulling it out at different times when I needed a reassurance.  At some point I no longer needed to check in and put the note away in my jewelry box where it still has the power to bring tears to my eyes.  And incidentally, I still have those same strengths, and if you ask me, I would be quick to admit them, unlike my 27-year-old self!

My point?  You do not know what impact a small gesture might have in the life of someone else.  Write the sticky note. Say the words.  Pass on the compliment! 

(Photo by angelamaphone, shared via Flicrkr)


Peggy Forster said...

That is so true. Thanks for sharing.

Karla said...

So true and I love it!

dayment said...

That makes me want to get out my note cards RIGHT NOW.