“I admire how you handled that difficult situation. “
“She gives the best hugs in the whole world.”
Does it warm your soul to hear something heartfelt?
I’m guessing you feel wonderful. It’s human nature.
Looking back, one of the best compliments I’ve ever got from people is, “You inspire me.” I don’t claim to be a model. . . anything, actually. Life is long and you learn some good, hard lessons on the way. But, to know that you’ve touched people, even in some small way, is very gratifying.
As a senior in college:
I remember prowling the hallways of our hostel ,back in college, since it was my duty to ensure that study hours were maintained. Invariably, the girls would catch one glimpse of me from afar and dart into their rooms. I’d always picture them viewing me as a monster, out to wreck their peace.
When the time for goodbyes came around and we were getting our autograph books out, almost everyone used the word ‘inspiration’ while referring to me. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. They said they admired my resolve and how they respected me ,even when I was out on those rounds.
As a teacher:
My first job was as a trainer. I was fairly confident of taking it on, as it was something I’d always wanted to do. The challenges were many. For one, this wasn’t a twenty-minute paper on Robert Burns. This wasn’t among my friends and peers. I wasn’t being gently nudged by a teacher in the background, when I stumbled.
This was two hours of talking, knowledgeably on a subject. This was igniting young minds, who sat before me. And the only one nudging me was my inner voice.
But, I made it through. I went on to take many classes. I met some delightful students, many of whom still keep in touch.
One evening, as I leaned on the wall outside the classroom, waiting for my students to trickle in, a shy student of mine came up and said, “Ma’am, I’ve met teachers who instruct and teachers who encourage. You’re the first one I’ve met, who chooses to inspire us. ” I don’t recall anything else that evening, since I had a lump in my throat.
As a blogger:
Blogging brought meaning into my stay-at-home existence, after Gy came along and lovingly took up all my attention.
I chose to blog, since it ensured that my love for writing and language would stay alive.
Today, seven years later, when I read comments that mention how my posts inspire them or help them in some way, I’m motivated to continue the journey.
If what I write can also inspire people to continue to grow their network of love, I feel blessed.
Gy, too has had her fair share of compliments and I’m still a bit unsure about how ‘too much praise’ can be damaging. In fact, she probably gets more criticism from me than she deserves.
The day she graduated from preschool, every kid in class was given a sash, with the child’s most prominent quality printed on it. How she grinned and posed with happiness, displaying her ‘friendly’ tag, is an image I’ll never forget.
We respond to the good, the beautiful and the positive.
It’s why we love a sunrise.
It’s why our children beam when we praise their efforts.
It’s why we smile if our partner admires our skills( like writing a blog, for instance;).
So, don’t wait. Get out there and make someone feel better about themselves. And, the bonus is that you get to feel great, since you’ve spread your share of sweetness and joy.