'Tis Easier To Give Than Receive...Compliments (by Jodi Moore)
"You'll recognize my mom. She's the small, bouncy woman who'll gush about your performance and crush you in a hug."
That's how our son described me to his fellow cast-mates I would have the privilege to meet later that night following a show.
I suppose it was fair warning. Because I am, and I did.
You see, I’m not great at accepting compliments, but I’m passionate about giving them. Years ago, I worked as an administrative assistant to the executive director of an arts festival. While she oversaw hundreds of volunteers and many committees, she'd always make sure that if someone sharpened a pencil for her, he/she knew it was the best darn point she’d ever seen.
Consequently, while working there I witnessed some of the best darn smiles I’ve ever seen.
Yes, I know some people think withholding praise will only make others strive harder to achieve their goals or attain that recognition…and I’m not saying that never works. But the journey – for all involved – is so much more pleasant when the road is paved with compliments and smiles.
As a writer, I face rejection on (almost) a daily basis. It goes with the territory. Most of the time, I can handle it.
But not always.
About a week ago, I was feeling a bit more “Eeyore” than Tigger, for a variety of reasons, some personal, some writing-related. So, my sweet husband stepped in. He peeled me away from my novel-in-progress, booked me a massage, took me out for a cute little lunch, and capped off the day with tickets to Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (The Mr. Rogers documentary – if you haven’t already seen it, you must!)
The movie is a tear-jerker (but in a good way), and as we drove home, I found myself snuffling into my tissues and blubbering, “See? The world needs more Mr. Rogers – did you see how he made those children smile?”
And Larry said, “Don’t you see? That’s what you do with your books. And that’s why you have to keep writing.”
He reminded me of this letter I had received from a fourth grader after a school visit.
And while it's still easier for me to give than receive compliments, I realized that was exactly what I needed to hear at that precise moment. It was the hug I needed. And I accepted his compliment...with thanks, and a HUGE return hug.
After all, I am known to be a small, bouncy woman who crushes people in hugs.