Jun 1, 2009

One Kind Word Can Warm Three Winter Months

Verbal affirmations are difficult to get these days. As much as possible, Filipinos would not try to involve themselves in a direct conversation. They prefer to use these new found text, email and the 140 character limit of Twitter. Yes, it's more convenient and you get to save these "special message", but technology incapacitates our ability to easily engage in a conversation with a (friendly) stranger.

A friend asked me, "how do you easily start a conversation with someone you just met (let's say in a book store)?" Pick up lines won't work. I said to him, "well you just open your mouth and speak what you want." It really is that easy.

Back in our junior high recollection, there was this activity called "Washing of the Feet" where water and soap are not involved. You'll sit in front, facing your back to the "audience" and people will start lining behind you giving unexpected compliments. You're not supposed to know who the affirmation giver is.

Surprisingly, I did not hear the praises that one commonly hears like fabulous, intelligent, handsome or any other adjectives that is denotes goodness. Instead, people complimented me for the random acts of kindness I did to them. Very small acts that we usually take for granted. Hearing that someone appreciated what you did for them truly warms the heart.

The simple activity made us realize that simple compliments heard can actually empower one to also give out compliments as well. Compliment giving is like STD or AIDS, it's infectious without the lethal part.

Some people might actually need a compliment more than you can imagine - a tired man from work, an old lady shopping alone, or someone planning a suicide because his girlfriend broke up with him. Be proactive especially this summer.

If you live by the quote "doing extra ordinary things extra-ordinarily well," this is one way to practice it. The next time you go to a store, greet the grumpy sales lady and ask her advice; or in a public place, compliment someone if you really like their outfit. I usually do this and honestly, it brings me more joy (somehow) meeting a new acquaintance than getting a good sale from a store.

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