"Which of my all important nothings should I tell you first?" ~ Jane Austen, in a letter to her sister

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Compliments & Validation

I was reading an article about Jill Scott and she made this comment:
It's silly to be stingy with compliments. If you see someone and they strike you as beautiful in any way why not let them know?
Then, later, I was cruising through some Twitter feeds and saw that several people had retweeted that comment. I found that to be so interesting because, by and large, I think we are generally reserved  and not apt to simply compliment other strangers even when we notice that a compliment may be warranted. There's this fear, "how will they react? what will they say?" Which is kind of silly, when you think about it, because most people are more than happy to get compliments or at least some form of validation.

Validation. I love that word. It embodies all the "I was right" or "yes, I rock" or "holy crap, I actually accomplished something" exclamations into one simple, sophisticated little word.

Here's the official definition:
val·i·date 
1. To declare or make legally valid.
2. To mark with an indication of official sanction.
3. To establish the soundness of; corroborate.
Official sanction. That's the President or Queen passing on the crown, right? Or just your boss saying, "good report" or your mom saying "I'm proud of the mom you have become."  Someone with authority giving approval and encouragement simply because they see a reason to give it.

I have found I'm one of those people that needs some sort of validation - especially in my professional life. Validation can be small and personal, "hey, nice haircut" or "thanks for folding that massive pile of clothes," or large and professional, "since you do such good work we are offering you an annual retainer incentive of $150k." Both types significant in their own way. Both of them designed to validate me - the first in my appearance and the second from my actions, knowledge and experience. (Ok, the second one didn't happen. But I keep wishing. Instead the occasional pat on the back and annual pay bumps must to suffice).

So what's the point? Whether you are in a position to validate the actions of another (like your child, your spouse, or your employees) or simply compliment a peer or a stranger JUST DO IT. Recognize positive actions and reinforce the behavior. Let them know that they did something that you liked. Let them know that you think they are awesome. Or that you simply like their shoes. Whatever it is - tell them. They will feel 100 times better and I bet you will too.

We can get so bogged down with negativity in our lives. Deadlines, bills, homework, stress, etc., that just a few words of encouragement can make a big difference.

So I'm going to try to remember to give compliments when they are deserved and validation when it's needed. I hope you will too.

Here's my first - I'm thankful to each and every one of you for taking a few minutes out of your busy days to read my words. I'm thankful for you.

4 comments:

  1. My turn!

    You are beautiful. Intelligent (like wow). Sweet as pie. Honest. An awesome mom.

    I heart you. Forreals.

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  2. Aw! I'm tearing up! Thanks so much sweetie. The feeling is 100% mutual. See you soon!

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  3. There is very little I love more in a day than having some stranger offer me a compliment. On my hair, my glasses, my shoes, whatever. I love it. And I try very hard to offer a piece of brightness to others, because it's just SO DAMN EASY to offer a sincere compliment to someone. Why DON'T we do it more often?

    And blogs are one of the easiest places to do it! And yet, on your post "Bitchfest & IG LW review" I didn't leave a comment telling you I love your glasses, because I thought..."Eh, she doesn't know me..."

    So, here it is - late and from a near stranger - I love your glasses!

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  4. Thank you!! I have gotten so many compliments on these glasses and I LOVE every single one. :D I really appreciate it. And, you know what? Stranger compliments are almost better than any other because, generally, there's no underlying ulterior motive. Kwim?? Thanks!

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