This may seem like a weird topic, but stay with me for a moment (like, preferably to the end of this article). For the last few weeks now, I’ve noticed a common theme within my YSA ward. Whenever I get up in Sacrament meeting to lead the hymns or provide a musical number, flocks of girls approach me afterward to tell me they love my hair or my dress or my makeup that day. (There is a point to this. Forgive me if I sound arrogant.) I’m not saying I hate it. It’s always nice to be admired, and I know those girls have good intentions… But.
Then I walk into Sunday School or Relief Society, and not one of them could be bothered to sit next to me or try and have a conversation. In fact, I often wait awkwardly and alone for a roommate or my ministering brothers to sit next to me. Now, I’m not saying it’s all up to them. I could definitely take the initiative here. However, I find it interesting how lots of girls are so willing to give the surface-level compliments, and then call it a day. At some point, though, I’ve come to disregard most comments like that. Sure, I’ll thank them in the most genuine way I can, but it’s hard to feel loved when there’s no soul involved. Ya feel? And what happens to someone when their self-esteem is based on those surface-level compliments? Better yet, what happens to someone when those physical aspects start to fade with time, age, and/or change? Their self-esteem is crushed!
Related: How Does God Feel About Body Image?
For example, Sarah is known for her long, luscious locks of hair. She receives compliments on it everywhere she goes. But one day, Sarah has to shave her head clean because of an unexpected cancer diagnosis. Not only is Sarah doubting her beauty, but her self-worth, as well. What is she without her beautiful hair? Where will her validation come from now? Don’t get me wrong, I love to give the occasional, “Your hair is amazing,” or “You are rocking those jeans,” type of compliments. But what I really aspire to be is someone who validates other people’s souls.
More thoughts on my blog: I Will Make You Believe You Are Lovely
For the past several months now, I have been keeping a compliment journal. I don’t write down all that I’ve received, just my favorite ones. And guess what? I’d say about 80% of them are non-physical.
I’ll share a few with you: My roommate told me as she got to know my story better, her respect for me grew. My best friend told me she admired how I handled the difficult things in life. A fellow missionary told me she loved how I “slap life in the face.” A good friend literally once said I have a “beautiful soul.” And my favorite: “You are the golden snitch to my life: small, golden, and a ball of fun.” (For those of you who don’t know, that is a Harry Potter reference.) These are the compliments I remember—the ones that build me up and make me proud of who I’m becoming. How much stronger would your relationships be if you gave and received these types of compliments regularly? Think of someone who always makes you happier with their presence. Who never fails to be there when you really need them? Is there someone in your life who exceeded your expectations or inspired you to be more than you are? Now go tell ’em how you feel! Write a letter, give them a call, Facetime them, etc. Too often, we think highly of certain people in our lives but fail to actually tell them that. No more. Make 2020 a year of true, genuine compliments and watch it become the best yet.
Related: 15 Quotes to Live By in 2020