Twice tonight, Daughter gave me the sweetest compliment. Both times, with regards to the same thing, which made the words that much sweeter to me. That praise (in my mind, a bit too flowery- but isn’t that the way…) proffered for my coaching abilities today at school, words that had the effect of boosting my confidence about a role I feel rather inadequately suited for. As I was just now vacuuming the kitchen at day’s end, thinking about my hours before already spent and wondering about those to come tomorrow, I was reminded of her words. A reminder bringing a beaming smile to my soul.
When I hit the gym floor tomorrow, I’ll have her words as an encouraging love note written on my soul.
Those sweetest of words from the mouth of one I love- words of praise and commendation. How dearly we need such encouragement to spur us onward. And this thought entered my mind as well: how easily it is to dismiss uplifting words that another has given us as a gift, brushing them aside as we choose for our thinking less savory words to occupy our mind. Words that have come to us from the hurt or pain we feel; words that have provoked in us anger or retaliation; or words that have wounded. These we choose to dwell upon instead- pushing aside those other more precious words and memories that uplift and support.
So often we replace inspiration with desperation. While we might never quench our need for approval (that is, our desire for always wanting more praise- the initial high lasting only so long): there is also the tendency within to ignore the encouragement or praise we’ve been given so as to focus instead on whatever negative has been said to us throughout the day. To ruminate about those things which are most offensive, giving priority to the damaging at the expense of the positive. For while we are never quite satisfied with what compliments/praise/ commendations we’ve been given, it is also reality that we be prone to see, feel, hear and experience what we want to focus our senses on, some experiences of which can be interpreted as negative.
Perceiving is a choice.
What we choose to focus our attention and time and effort on is our choice to make.
My friend Corry wrote me tonight and said this:
“One offensive remark can stick for decades and praise is so soon discarded or not believed.”
How true- when it comes to experiencing life, it is a matter of choosing what perspective I will embrace about the words spoken to me and experiences I live out. And if this is reality, what perceptions then do I choose to invest my time dwelling on? How then will I perceive what experiences unfold in my life? The lens I choose will determine my path.
I am in the office writing up morning announcements when a colleague comes up to me and grabs my shoulders. She gives me a gift of encouraging words and I don’t quite know how to accept them at first. But throughout the day, the words return to me like a cozy blanket, warming me from within, until I feel strength in my very fibre. The day may have its ups and downs, but I have these words to bolster me, providing support.
And that’s all I really need for today, this little love note to the soul. The rest are extras, little blessings that come my way.
Everything else is icing on the cake.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things