Compliments are weird.
Nice, weird, rewarding and scary.
We often tell people they look nice, they smell great, wow-what-a-great-job-you’ve-done, their children are beautiful, their house is immaculate, how great their idea is, how much you’ve appreciated their contribution, etc. We sometimes hear those same things from people. It makes us feel happy, pleased, embarrased – what have you.
Compliments are easy to give, oftentimes difficult to receive, but almost impossible to wish upon another for entirely selfless reasons. However, no matter the underlying motivation for saying all these nice things to other people, it is an acceptable and desirable social convention in the Western world. Well, any world, for that matter.
When was the last time someone complimented you on something? Okay, sure, it might have been recently. But when was the last time you really appreciated that compliment, took time to process it, took time to appreciate it, took real time out of your day to thank that person (if the compliment is at least somewhat sincere, that is)?
It’s been a while, huh?
Well, good (ok, semi-good, perhaps even not at all noteworthy if you’re not a person who likes compliments) news – World Compliment Day is coming up!
A Dutch guy named Hans, most probably tall and good-looking and well-behaved and educated, thought it’d be nice to come up with a day where the Dutch would compliment each other on stuff. And it worked. Then, ambition be the driver, this same Dutch guy thought it might be cool for everyone in the world to have the same opportunity (or nuisance, again, depends on which way you’re leaning compliments-wise).
“One day out of the year, tell nice things, sincere, meaningful, really nice things to three people. They will each do the same thing. It’s simple maths. 1 to 3, 3 to 9, 9 to 27, 27 to 81, etc. Wildfire. Wildfire of kindness. Imagine that?”
So, in honor of the tall good-looking Hans, we’ve prepared a short guide for you on how to celebrate World Compliment Day and make someone’s March, week and life better.
First of all, go the Hans way. Pick out three people who you think might benefit the most from your compliments, who haven’t been well lately, someone stressed out, sad, or just someone you love and want to see happy. Then go all out on the compliments. Let’s not stoop down to “Wow, I love your shoes” for this. Think about the person.
Think about who they are, why you like them, why you love them, why they are important to you as a person, human being, mother, father, friend, colleague. You can even pick a random person you don’t interact much with but appreciate and respect them. Think your compliment out. Get out of your comfort zone.
Get. out. of. your. comfort. zone.
“Dear Father/Mother/Brother/Whoever, I love you for who you are. You’ve given me so much, you gave me the opportunity to feel, see, hear, think, experience the beauty and the misery of the world around us, and I want you to know how thankful I am. You are a beautiful soul, and, even though I don’t say this nearly often enough, you’ve been the best Father/Mother/Brother/Whoever I could ever wish for. You still are.
— then you can throw in some shallow ego boosts here, for the sake of variety —
Also, I’ve noticed you lost some weight. You look incredible. Heck, I’ve seen men/women turning after you in the street. Rugged. A lumberjack. Think Hugh Jackman.”
Second, use the power of social media. It is a much more impersonal, but still a more than valid method of spreading the love and good feelings throughout your community and the world. Go ahead and post a status on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram account. Do put some effort into it, phrase it nicely, make everyone feel like you’re talking directly to them.
Since this way of complimenting people may be seen as ineffectual and as “the easy way out,” make it sound good. Really good. Sure, you typed it up on your phone on the way to work, or sitting at the bar watching a football game, but you’ve made a concrentrated effort for your message to hit all the right emotions. And your friends, family and followers will respect that.
Third, use the power of mass media, sort of. Still a more impersonal approach than face-to-face, but more intimate and entertaining than a social media post. Put up a poster saying “GOOD WISHES TO ALL,” “YOU ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL,” “YOU CAN DO IT,” etc., and hang it up from your balcony, office window or, you know, the nearest lamppost.
You can also print flyers and distribute them around the town. You can do anything of the sort, as long as it’s handmade and shows real effort on your part. This might perhaps be the most effective way of celebrating World Compliment Day, cost/reach/effort-wise.
However, you can spend March 1st sitting down to a cold beer and staring at the wall. Do nothing. Relax.
But be kind.
Be good, kind, compassionate; treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. This is no dogmatic preaching of any kind, folks, but a sensible approach to your fellow human beings. The biggest compliment you can give, you can give to mankind, and do so by being a good person. Nothing more, nothing less. You don’t have to invent anything, cure polio v.2, take the first human being to Mars, etc. But be kind.
Humanity doesn’t, and never will, lack intelligence, ambition or resourcefulness. However, it lacks empathy.
World Compliment Day is an effort to get people to stop and think about others around them. To put aside their chaotic and frenzied lives for 10, 15, 115 minutes that day and do something beautiful for someone else.
Which world would you rather live in – a technological marvel, destroyed and debauched and disintegrated by humanity’s progress, or a slightly less advanced, calmer, more compassionate world where people interact, love each other, and are kind to one another. And humanity is actually trying to balance that very thing as we speak (read?).
Let’s all do a better job at it.