Sunday, June 13, 2010

the unspoken compliment

Someone once told me withholding a compliment is a sin. I researched this theory and found a blog by Rev. Ronald Knott reiterating this belief:
"The main reason for withholding compliments comes from an internal perception that if I praise you, I will not appear to be as good as you. A second reason for with withholding compliments is a passive-aggressive way to punish you for some past behavior. Maybe you were slighted or you feel that the other person is getting way too many compliments, so you withhold the good you could do. Married couples often commit this sin against each other. Love is about building up your partner, not just refraining from tearing them down."

It is absolutely amazing what a small compliment can do for a person's self-esteem. I have had a healthy amount of confidence for most of my life, but because of my crumbling marriage, I have found my self-esteem at the deepest recesses of the lowest gutter. I avoid social situations, I avoid eye contact with strangers. I am self conscious beyond reason. My self esteem has spiraled into oblivion. The part about "withholding compliments as a form of punishment" hits a little too close to home. When you have a partner who was, for half of your entire life your biggest fan, but suddenly stops loving you and begins to completely reject and destroy you with their criticism, harsh words, and indifference, it does things to your self-esteem. Even to the strongest, feistiest, most confident among us. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall" true!

Lately I have realized that from this unfortunate place I am in, each kind word spoken in my direction is an absolute blessing; affirmation, a reminder of my worth as a unique human being. Technically, each of us should posses enough self-esteem and confidence to where insults roll off us like water off a duck's back, and compliments are humbly accepted but not taken too seriously, but let's face it: life can absolutely pulverize us. And when we find ourselves feeling low, low, low, the smallest compliment can help us keep our head held high.

It may just be a temporary need, a band-aid on an open heart surgery. But how could we ever know who is serious need of a compliment? Sometimes the people who are the most put together from the outside, haughty, or even the most cantankerous are possibly the most unappreciated, insecure, deprived of kindness, and therefore the most in need of a damn compliment already! So whatever that positive observation is that crosses your mind...say it!!! Spread the love.... you have nothing to lose and everything to give!

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