So I went out with some friends a couple of weeks ago… We dressed up, tried to look nice (flips hair), the whole nine yards!! Now, I’ll put it out there that the dressing up part was NOT my idea but you know how peer pressure works. So we are looking good, right? Right… And we hit up the “club”… well, not really. We went to a restaurant. Hahaha…
Anyways, as we were entering the restaurant, one of the servers was on that “woot, woot” and complimented us on how we looked – in the most excited way possible. Now, I wasn’t about to let baby girl be the only excited person in the room so of course I did my twirls and my noises, STRONGLY approved of her “joining us at our table” and ALMOST gave her a hug even… Almost, I stopped myself midway. Hehe. Heck, I felt like we were friends that hadn’t seen each other in a while!
And that was a beautiful feeling – having someone appreciate you for the effort made. Trust me, getting dolled up takes A LOT of effort!!! I’m sure you know!!!
Why all the hating?
This interaction had me thinking: Why did she do that? Why was she that excited? Wasn’t she afraid we might respond differently – granted no one (that I know of) has ever responded negatively to a compliment. I mean, I just had thoughts ok. My mind does that sometimes.
Thoughts aside, her attitude reminded me of the importance of showing love to all that we meet. It emphasized the value in focusing on the good – the positive – regardless of where we are or who we are interacting with. Isn’t it funny how we are quick to point out the flaws in others – strangers and friends alike – but are very slow to point out the positive? Like, it takes 2 minutes to notice how bad an outfit is, how ugly something looks or how messed up a situation is but waaaaaay longer to notice that – amidst that bad outfit the color compliments the person’s skin tone very well. Just saying!!!
It took me back to good ol’ Swazi times!! I grew up in a culture that embraces strangers and is keen to start new conversations. If you are Southern African – or just African really – you know what I’m taking about… Those long lines at the bank, while you wait at the government offices. It starts with that “sisi, siketi sakho bo!” translated to Sister, your skirt is popping!!! No really, if it is not a skirt it’s a dress, or a shirt. There is always something to be found. Which, of course would be how that would work since no conversation with a good ending has ever started with, “your shirt is soooo ugly”. If you know of one that has started like that please, please, pleasssse let me know.
Before you know it, you’ve made a new friend in that line, on the bus or in that office and y’all are homies like you’ve know each other for a lifetime. What I’m getting at is, loving – versus hating – has never hurt anybody.
Cheer on to lift up
While we’re on this topic, I’ll make an example using my family. Daddy, I love you, but you know this is the way you are set up!! Y’all, I love Dad, a lot!! But sometimes… let me explain. My father, right, is the typical “African” father. Let me break it down for you. He is the guy who will ignore the A’s on a report card and only see the C or – God forbid – the D. Like, it’s almost like he has a radar for it. Everything just gets blurred and that is all he sees. I love him but man, sometimes I wish he just wouldn’t. When I know I’ve had a messed up semester I gotta channel all the prayers – even halla at the Khumalo ancestors and see if they’ll get my back!! hahaha
My mother is the exact opposite of that. She is the person who will tell you, after you flunked the semester, how proud she is that you survived the last 4 months. Legit!! She will be on some, “look, you woke up and went to class. You sat down on that chair to write you exam! You may have done horribly in it but I am so proud of you for showing up”.
I have learnt a lot from my mother because of that. Cheering people on is powerful! Some people will perform better merely because they know someone is proud of them. Imagine how beautiful it would be if you saw people become better versions of themselves because you let them know they are doing a great job.
What am I getting at? To be honest, the message it simple. It does not need the 600-something words I have just typed up. Let us cheer each other up a little bit more. Let us make it an effort to give a compliment that raises someone else up. Tell your buddy how proud you are of them. Tell you homie how on point their soccer skills are. It is really that simple.
My mother has taught me the importance of letting others know they are doing a great job. The server at the restaurant reminded me that we don’t just tell those we know this, but that we spread it to friends and strangers alike.
My encouragement for the week; find someone to cheer on and watch them grow… And maybe, keep at it this whole year and give out a heartfelt compliment every week; to a friend, a stranger… to Anyone.
Watch others bloom around you because, hello, ONLY FLOWERS THAT GET WATER BLOOM