How Complimenting Someone Changed the Feel of Her Day and Mine

Yesterday, I had an experience that shifted my surface mood from a bit irritated to open and joyful.

I’m glad to share it with you:

I was going to give you the ‘backstory’, but the ‘why’ I was irritated doesn’t matter as much as that I was feeling irritated.

You know what that feels like, when it’s surface, so it hasn’t settled, and you’re still open to the goodness of life, just distracted a bit by whatever is irritating. You’re not totally engaged with life, but still present. 

(Note: I like to intentionally the ditch the ‘backstory’ because I find if I keep telling it, the energy of it stays with me, and the story itself becomes the ‘star’ instead of the insights or blessings. So, this, ‘not telling the backstory’ is one way of *letting it go*.)

I had an early evening meeting, and I knew I’d feel better in it if I ate something. I was too far from home (time-wise) to go back, so I took myself out to a very casual dinner.

(While this ^^^ sentence makes it seem simple, here is a bit of the process of being present: I was aware of the importance of meeting my physical needs, and in that making myself feel more comfortable. In choosing not to go home, which was out of my way, I was honoring unfolding and flow, instead of pushing myself through/insisting upon something.)

While I normally love to converse and be the light in the room, when I was seated, my goal was to stay to myself, and simply enjoy my food.

The waitress approached my table with a big smile. A big, genuine smile. The kind I naturally respond to with my own smile. (The kind I usually give first, but didn’t.) So, there I was smiling, which felt like its own mini-miracle.

She was also really attentive, filling my water, checking-in to make sure the little details were taken care of. I listened as she spoke with customers around me, and she was delightful.

I heard her apologize a few times (when she felt she wasn’t quick enough to bring something or that she overlooked a detail – her customers weren’t complaining at all, she was judging herself). I could tell from the tone of her voice that she was either new or feeling nervous about something.

When she came back to check-in with me, I asked if she had been waitressing long and she said ‘no, I’m new, does it show?’. I said ‘I was just wondering, because you seem genuinely happy and that you care about details’.

I’ve worked in customer service my entire life, and I know what a difference a compliment makes. I also know what a *big* difference talking to the manager makes, so I asked the manager to come over.

As the manager approached my table, he was kind of guarded, likely expecting me to complain, and to have to negotiate or something. His whole manner relaxed, and he leaned in with a smile when I said “I called you over to my table to compliment “Suzy” (let’s call her). “Suzy” was behind him, and a few of her peers were in a group, behind her, listening in, too.

I explained that I came in feeling a bit irritated and “Suzy’s” smile and demeanor and attentiveness shifted the feel of my meal from a mediocre ‘chore’ to a delightful experience. And, that I came in feeling a bit irritated from events in my day, but I was leaving feeling open and happy and ready to go to my meeting.

“Suzy” was beaming. Her co-workers were congratulating her. The manager shook my hand and thanked me and said he would be sure that upper management would hear about this.

“Suzy” came back and told me I made her entire night, and I could tell that was true because her smile was more radiant and she pretty much ‘floated away’.

My smile as I was leaving was also radiant. And, as I walked out the door, I looked up (as I always do) and was greeted by the remnants of a fiery pink and red sunset, strewn across the sky. I went from “mmm, maybe a do-over would be nice” as I walked in the door, to “whoa, isn’t life grand” as I walked out.

None of the details of the day changed. It was understandable to feel irritable. I wasn’t planning on directly changing that, because I knew it would naturally dissolve as the evening unfolded.

However, Universe swooped in to say ‘you don’t have to *suffer* with this irritation, let’s shift that for you’. Because I was open enough, to notice the goodness around me and to be affected by it, my entire mood shifted.

Instead of tolerating something (being in the rest of the day), I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Sometimes, when I’m pained, I think I have nothing to give. But, really, all it took was noticing a person’s presence and commenting on that, to brighten her day, and mine.

I invite you to notice when someone is naturally kind, and to compliment them on it. And to notice how that genuine care affects them, and to realize that will ripple out to all they come in contact with, even after you’ve left.

That’s the power of love, really (I feel). A few love- or joy-filled words can change the feel of the day far more than your mind thinks it will.

Likewise, when someone compliments you, I invite you to take that in, fully. To let it work it’s magic in your body and being and to notice as it changes how you feel and ripples out as you move through your day.

If you’d like to share, in the comments below, about giving someone kind words and/or receiving kind words and how that felt, I’d love to hear about it. And, if you’d like to practice, then circle back around and share, please do.

May kindness, and joy, touch your heart and flow through you, in easy-to-receive, be and celebrate ways, as you move through each day!

Much peace and abundant love,


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Comments on: "How Complimenting Someone Changed the Feel of Her Day and Mine" (2)

  1. Hi Joy! Your story is such a great beginning to my day off (well a working day off is what it really is :). I was listening to Caroline Myss, my teacher, last night, and she told a similar story as she was talking about every day acts of grace and how life-changing they can be. The story she told was of how a man, walking down the street on his way home to commit suicide, was smiled at by a woman in her car, just someone who was spreading love and joy by sharing her smile. Well, the man evidentally came to one of Caroline’s workshops and shared the story, and told the audience that his life turned around because of that stranger and her loving smile and he did NOT commit suicide but went on to begin to turn his life around and live joyfully. I have heard her tell this story before and it always makes me feel that even the tiny acts of grace and love can be life-changing! I am so glad you were able to send this sort of love and grace to Suzie and her friends. Love you, Joy! <3

    • Blessings as your working day off unfolds, Jean :)

      Thank you for taking the time to respond. Many of Caroline Myss’ teachings resonate well with me.

      Thank you for sharing this story! It’s a reminder that we just sometimes don’t know how what we share affects another – and I know sometimes that not knowing can feel discouraging, we wonder does it matter….yes!, yes!!, yes!!! it does.

      How heartening to hear, and remember and feel!

      Love you, too, Jean!!

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