As a female, I find that I have not-so-subtly fallen into many patterns that are deemed “girlish” and sometimes completely repulsive to the opposite sex. I could simply create a list for you, but of course that would be feeding another womanly addiction… which is making lists. So I’ll get right to it: I have a memory box. In this memory box, I have many random pieces of paper that only I could possibly understand the meaning behind. Every now and then I try to open it up and go through it to part with some items that I feel I can or that don’t hold any importance to me whatsoever (like a movie stub from a movie I went to with an ex-boyfriend from 10 years ago).
I have a few favourite items in my memory box, but my absolute favourites are the letters that were written and given to me the night after my high school prom by my father and my brother. These are letters that I think I would probably risk going back into my house for if it were on fire. I come from a family that is very, very close but not too open with affection so reading the words written to me by the two most important men in my life has been one of the most touching moments of my life thus far.
I learned what it’s like to be on the receiving end and that I want to be that person on the other side. I want to be someone who makes another realize they are beautiful when they can’t see it in the mirror, or someone who reminds my friends that the jerk who just dumped them will be but a distant memory someday and they may not even remember his name. I don’t want to be this person just to take the credit, I want people to know that they have extensive worth and so I try to tell them as often as I can exactly what I admire about them.
Last year I had a close friend who lived a few provinces away who was going through a tough time. I opened up my computer and spent hours writing her a letter about herself. I wrote it as if I was basically introducing her to herself. I wrote about what I thought the first time we met, how we became friends, times that she wowed me and what I’ve heard other people say about her when she isn’t around (positive things might I add). I reminded her of all the qualities she had that were so amazing, but I made sure to be 100 percent accurate with them so that she knew they were true. I printed it off, signed it and sent it off in the mail. When she received it, she told me that it was the nicest letter she has ever received and that it meant the world to her. It seemed so silly that I was being thanked for writing her a letter about all the very true and wonderful things about her. Sometimes people just need a reminder that they are beautiful.
I remember learning a tool from my former employer about eight years ago that always stuck with me. When you give someone a compliment, make it something specific. Make it mean something and say it with oomph. I’ve sometimes complimented total strangers who look at me like an alien afterwards but the risk of passing along a compliment to someone is usually worthwhile. We live in a world now where people can hide behind a computer and deliver nasty, horrendous insults to one another via false identities (or even as themselves). Why don’t we just try to shift that a little bit so the world is outweighed with people who pass along kindness and sincerity? So many people walk around feeling chastised by their peers, when really their peers may adore and perhaps even envy them for the qualities they so obviously possess.
If you took the time to read this, you have enough time to grab a pen and paper and write ONE person you know and tell them they are fabulous. Tell someone who has a great smile that it lights up your day, or someone who has a contagious laugh that it forces everyone who hears it to smile. Let people know how great they are and how much more rich your life is with them in it. Oh and please…don’t ever regret for a single second any word of extreme kindness you say to another person.