Saturday, October 13, 2012

Being Kind and Generous

Is it just me or do people seem starved for recognition and appreciation, hungry for simple acknowledgement of their existence? This is not the look at me, look at me, look at me self esteem thing. I think it's sincere.  We all want to feel like we matter in the lives of others. We want to belong and feel connected and we should all feel that way.

The problem is that an easy way to feel powerful and like we matter is to sling complaints and vitriolic diatribe like a short order cook slinging hash browns at Waffle House. We are generous with criticisms and stingy with praise.

A woman I work with gave me what I consider to be a high compliment when she told me that I see the best in people. It’s part of what makes me a good teacher. I try to be generous with praise and lavish encouragement and compliments on people. Hey, it’s free. A sincere thank you goes a very long way. As John Maxwell said, “encouragement is oxygen for the soul.”

I’ll be honest with you though, I am generous with praise and compliments for a very selfish reason. It makes me feel good. If I’m in a funk expressing sincere appreciation lifts my spirit. And you know it’s not that hard. I simply look for reasons to say thank you as often as I can, to celebrate the success of others the same way I celebrate my own.

When was the last time you left a generous tip, called customer service not with a complaint, but to praise the service you got? When was the last time that you treated your waitress, clerk or for that matter, your child’s teacher like you would want to be treated? When was the last time you noticed, just noticed beauty in someone or something else?

Criticism and complaints are cheap currency. We’re better than that. How about just for today we try and find five simple, little everyday things to praise and appreciate. I wonder if we all wouldn't feel more connected and part of the world we say we want.

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