If you were told you could do a few simple things and be happier, what would you do?
A: Say, “Is that so? Tell me more?” and be open to giving it a shot?
– Or –
B: Run like a scalded cat the other way?
It’s an important question. How you answer it may be the difference between being alive and living. We’ve seen both answers along the path to the Happy LIFE – a self-propelled journey into creating “happy habits” – that is starting to make the rounds to employees of companies who think like we do at Life University. Perhaps predictably, their experience has been similar to ours at at LIFE U.
An esteemed colleague (translation: He’s a VP and way above my pay grade but I like him and he’s always been great to work with), summarized our Happy LIFE implementation like this: “All, here’s the truth for me. Remembering to compliment people is a challenge for me. After sending “gratitudes” through Happy LIFE, I now express my appreciation more. The program will sound kooky to some, but it works in at least one way for everyone.”
I’d have to agree with my esteemed colleague. But, unlike him, I’d say I’m fairly fluent in the language of affirmation (I have to be in order to balance out all the snarky things I say to get a laugh; in fact, I’d add Sharing Laughter as the sixth love language). That means that I love to notice things that I can genuinely compliment people about. For those who’ve read Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages,”* you’ll be familiar with Words of Affirmation as one of the five languages people use to express and receive love (and I’d say the same idea applies to kindness, too).
But, I digress. What I found was this: As a result of writing emails expressing appreciation for those who’ve made a real difference in my life, I’ve become less self-conscious about following my natural tendency to be complimentary. Now, I don’t feel like a complete fool for complimenting even strangers if I happen to notice something I admire about them. And, best of all, I’m finding that, even if a couple of the people I compliment make cracks or look at me like I’m deranged, most people seem pleased as punch to be complimented and thank me for it, often quite warmly. It’s like we’ve just given each other gifts that are free and that fit perfectly – gifts we can wear in our hearts.
So, if some ol’ broad passes you on the street and says, “That color is perfect for you; everything you wear should include that color!” just believe her. You look great.
*Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages are: 1) Words of Affirmation, 2) Acts of Service, 3) Receiving Gives, 4) Quality Time and 5) Physical Touch.