Have you ever noticed what happens when you smile at other people? Not only does the person you are smiling at mirror your emotions and feels a sense of happiness, but you also feel better about your current state as well. Studies show that smiling is one of the best ways to combat a negative mood, which is why you should smile more, even when it’s hard.
What about compliments, though? Have you ever wondered how a few words can potentially impact somebody’s life? Have you ever thought about the benefits that both you and the other individual will reap when you go out of your way to compliment them?
Well, believe it or not, complimenting others isn’t just going to brighten their day, but it’s also going to brighten yours as well. Let me explain.
The Challenge of Complimenting A Stranger
Part of the reason that I started this challenge of 100 Random Acts of Kindness was to help inspire others to do more good in the world around them. More so, though, I also wanted to inspire others to start taking more risks on themselves through these random acts of kindness. You know, show others the positives of breaking out of your comfort zone.
Well, today, I had to put myself to the test.
I am the type of person who loves routine. Along with routine, I also enjoy being by myself. I get nervous in large groups of people, I begin to stutter when I meet new people, and it isn’t until I meet a person for the second time that I truly feel like I can be myself. So, as I’m sure you can guess, meeting strangers isn’t necessarily one of my favorite things to do.
What fun is a challenge though if you don’t do something… challenging?
Embracing A Challenge
Well, today, I decided to put myself to the test and embrace this challenge. As I was sitting in a coffee shop doing my daily reading and journaling, I decided to find one random person, walk up to them, and compliment them.
The person that I ended up complimenting was a fifty-year-old lady. I walked up to her table, said “Excuse me?” and as she looked up, I had an awkward smile on my face and told her that I really liked her glasses. She smiled at me, smiled, and thanked me for the compliment. After she said thank you, I basically sprinted for the door and left.
I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t awkward. It probably wasn’t for her, but for me, it was one of the most awkward things that I can remember doing in a long time. I hate being the person to initiate any type of communication, so to go up to a stranger and say something with a smile on my face was a bit of a stretch.
At the same time, though, it also felt good to give this lady a compliment and to put a smile on her face. I had never seen her before in my entire life and doubt I will again, but to know that I was able to put a smile on her face and positively impact her day through a five second verbal exchange was a satisfying feeling.
Benefits of Complimenting A Stranger
As I said, there are many benefits of complimenting a stranger.
1. It causes you to break out of your comfort zone.
It’s easy to go up to people you already know and to give them a compliment, but it takes even more courage to go up to somebody you don’t know and give them a compliment.
What if they think you’re crazy? What if they think you’re just joking and take the compliment personally instead of sincerely? What if they don’t respond, and instead, they just look at you awkwardly?
Well, that’s what makes it challenging. You don’t know how they are going to react, but unless you actually break out of your comfort zone and do it, you are never going to know.
2. It’s nice to be nice.
Research shows that in a response to doing something upbeat or positive for others, your body and mind will likely feel a sense of joy in knowing that you helped to positively impact somebody else’s day. And what better way to spread positivity and kindness than by going up to random strangers and complimenting them.
3. You start a trickle-down effect.
Think about the last time that somebody gave you a compliment. It probably helped to improve your mood, right? And because of this improved mood, you probably were more inclined to complimenting others as well. That’s how it goes, when you do something nice for others, the odds of them committing similar acts of kindness drastically increases. It truly is a trickle-down effect.
4. It gets easier to make spontaneous decisions. When you learn to take action on your thoughts despite the fear you might have, it will eventually get easier to make decisions and to ultimately overcome your fear. After challenging your fears a few times, you will see that the very thoughts you fear in the first place almost never result.
Just with anything in life, going out of your way to compliment a stranger can be scary. But unless you actually take the opportunity to do it, you are never going to know the impact that you could have made.
Not only does it help to brighten the days of others, but it will help to brighten your day as well. So what are you waiting for? Find someone, give them a compliment, and strive to change the world in the way you see fit.
Yesterday’s random act of kindness: Need To Declutter Your Life? Donate Old Clothes