I was at Walmart, trying to hurriedly finish my shopping before the next thing I needed to be at, when a man passing by me stopped and said,
“Not to be a weirdo, but you are absolutely beautiful.”
I gave a flustered laugh and a “Thank you so much” before hurrying on my way, but it completely turned my shopping trip around.
Because, little did that man know, I had spent the day before at home sick on the couch, feeling anything but beautiful. I had felt grungy and weak and tired. And his random compliment was a boost to my spirits.
He could have kept it to himself (as most of us do). He could have feared that I would take it the wrong way and given him a dirty look. He could have said it in a way that would have made me give him a dirty look. But instead, he chose to take a chance and genuinely brighten a stranger’s day.
What I fear with the whole Me Too movement is that amid all the perfectly legitimate claims of men who took wrongful advantage of women, we’ve made it so that men can’t even give genuine compliments to women without them being considered lewd. And women have become so anxious about unwelcome attention that they become suspicious of every little thing a man might say to them.
Now there definitely is a line between leering attention that becomes harassment and a genuine one-time compliment. Nor am I suggesting that married men constantly tell other women that they’re beautiful.
But I think we can learn the good judgment to tell the difference. And I think that in the proper context, such genuine compliments can bring joy and life to our spirits.
I, myself, constantly worry about what others will think about me and often keep nice thoughts about them to myself. I admire someone’s outfit or the extra effort they put in to their look but fail to tell them. I internally appreciate their thoughtfulness or care, but don’t say it out loud. Not that I have to say it out loud every single time (that would make me a bit of a weirdo), but I need the reminder to not always keep it to myself.
Other people need to know they are appreciated. They need to know they’re smart. And caring. And beautiful. We need these words to lift our spirits, bring light into someone’s dark day, and be the face of Christ to them.
And maybe some people will judge our motives and think we’re creeps.
But maybe more people will be given a smile – some inner joy – some motivation to keep going when they feel low – some affirmation when they doubt themselves.
And maybe that’s all that counts.
So let’s all become better complimenters and better encouragers. Not objectifiers and advantage-takers.
But people who genuinely see others the way God made them – as His beautiful masterpieces – and who tell them so.