Day 16 of the 21-Day Closet Challenge has arrived and I am all about it.
The writing topic today is:
This is part personal reminder, part public service announcement.
Whenever I'm in a mood, one of those moods, there are two things that can bring me out of it:
1. A walk outside in the sun or by the ocean. Yay nature. Or...
2. Complimenting someone whether I know them or not.
Ok I lied. There are three things that can shake me out of a funk, the third is hanging out with family (that includes the friends that are like family to me and Simone, the cat because she's essentially a feline sibling). Cue Simone upside down cuteness:
Both the walk outside and random complimenting go together actually.
When a bad mood hits and I know I need to get out of it, I start with trying to get some fresh air if possible. Once I'm outside, I usually b-line it to a coffee shop. Usually I find myself in line (San Francisco is notorious for long lines but they move 'em fast over here so it all works out) and that is where the compliment part comes in.
It takes a second to flip the switch in my brain from thinking about what is stressing me out that day to trying to find something I can say something nice about, but once I do flip that switch, it's on. I find my target, in a non-creepy way of course, and I throw a compliment out there, usually to a complete stranger.
I look for a great lip color or a cool hat. I'm always looking at shoes and bags (old habits from the Neiman Marcus buying offices die hard) and really anything else.
It's as simple as catching someone's attention and saying, "I love the hat you're wearing. Really cool." A smile is also involved.
I don't pour it on too heavy. I realize I'm not in Dallas anymore. The sugary sweet-talk is not always welcome (or trusted) by the people I have met in the Bay Area, so I just say a quick compliment, smile, and move on.
It's a kindness bomb and once I drop it, I can't even remember what I was so stressed about. I stop thinking about myself and I focus on someone else. I stop focusing on what isn't looking so hot and I start searching for a little pop of beauty (it is in the eye of the beholder after all).
I also used to do this when I first moved here and felt a little lost or lonely in the city.
Being surrounded by so many people and knowing not a' one of 'em can feel strange. Complimenting someone, genuinely, always seemed to make me feel better and allowed me to communicate with others which can be tough to do when you're the new kid and you work for yourself.
So today's homework assignment, should you choose to accept it (and I think you totally should) is to go out there and find something about someone to compliment. I'd suggest a stranger, it's way more fun that way.
You never know who you will meet out of it and in the end, even a small act of kindness can change the course of someone's day as cheesy as it sounds. I know I feel better on a low-energy day after someone compliments me. I just do, it's a thing.
I also don't think I'm alone in that.
But there's one thing you must do and that is keep it real. Don't fake it. We can sniff out a fake a mile away and it defeats the purpose.
That is also how this practice forces you to really look for the good out there. Beauty that you may be missing otherwise.
I had a friend awhile back that I'd go out with. Great guy, loved him and his ultimately kind heart, but he had this habit of finding flaws in others. He was like a flaw detective and it got very, oddly, specific. It got to the point where I started wondering what he was finding wrong with me, and even more so, what he found wrong with himself because that's usually where it originates.
On the other side of the spectrum is another friend I had back in college. We would go grocery shopping all the time at the Star Market around the corner (shout out to Boston) and always head straight into the produce section.
She would pick up a zucchini and hold it in her hand preciously as if it were the Hope Diamond. I saw a sad little baby zucchini. She saw a perfect little package just waiting to be cooked. It was like we lived on different planets and I wanted to go to hers for a bit.
Her appreciation for a small piece of produce is something I will always remember because it made me see things so differently. This friend of mine saw only the beauty where I saw only flaws. She appreciated the hell out of that zucchini squash and I swear to you, it tasted better than any other zucchini I have had since.
The same can be said for that old cardigan you have hanging in your closet. You see something you've had FOR-ever and sure, you still wear it but it's like, old news.
I see the perfect black cardigan that works back to almost any new updated outfit I can throw it into.
Two different worlds, same closet.
It's a change in perspective and sometimes what sparks that shift is a little compliment. Shedding a little love on a situation is always a good thing.
Searching for the beautiful bits and pieces out there starts to change things. I.e. you start seeing more...
So give it a go, compliment a stranger.
Search for the beauty out there that you may be missing and tell someone about it.
Maaaaaaybe finding it out there in the world will help you find it within yourself? I don't know. That's a big statement.
What I do know is, if you want to feel better, throw down a compliment and see what happens. Valentine's Day is right around the corner so this should be an easy one.
Oh, and by the way, have I told you how great your hair looks today? Love it.
Day 16, doneso.
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