Last year, when my daughter was about two and a half, we were walking out of a grocery store when she said, "Mommy, the lady in there was really pretty." I told her that when she thinks nice things like that she should say it out loud because it would make the person really happy. Well, she took that to heart and since then, doesn't hesitate to tell someone what she thinks. I've seen many an adult turn teary-eyed, many an awkward teenager turn beet red, and every single person smile from ear to ear. It's simple little things that make such an impact on the receiver.
I love your shiny long hair.
You have pretty earrings.
I like the way you laugh.
Thank you for being so nice.
Your dress is beautiful.
I love your sparkly eyes.
I witness this at least once a week. The power of saying something nice to someone just because - because you're three and you have no reason not to. The reaction is almost always the same: first the person is taken aback, then their demeanor changes, shifting between embarrassment, insecurity and gratitude. When they finally end up saying "thank you" the sincerity is touching. It's not just a 3-year-old giving someone a compliment. It's one person speaking life to another.
Words are powerful. They are rarely neutral. They can heal or hurt, empower or demean, bring joy or pain. And really, it doesn't just affect the person on the receiving end. Speaking words of life is just as powerful as hearing them. I see this in my 3-year-old. She is confident, unafraid, radiant. She makes me want to be a better person.
What's the use in thinking nice thoughts about someone? Tell them. Whether it's your spouse, your kids, your boss, a complete stranger. Tell them. You'll be amazed at what your words will do - to both of you.
Love and Gratitude,