You decided to make one instead of buying a gift. You put hours and hours of yourself into it, not to mention all the times you undid it, and then did it again. Or you wrote something or drew something that expressed a part of yourself and then you had the bright idea that you’d give it away. But soon after, you became unsure about what it revealed and how it was being interpreted. You went ahead and already gave it to that someone anyway. From the moment you parted with it that voice inside your head was saying “Did they really like it?” “What did they really think?” Especially if you weren’t there to watch the reaction, the facial and body expressions, you may have invited yourself to a sleepless night…becoming obsessed with not knowing if you made a fool of yourself or whether or not they lied about liking it when they said they loved it….Were they telling the truth? Could you actually tell or not? Did all the anticipation of delighting to give that piece of yourself away suddenly get deflated in the blink of an eye? Or maybe it happened slower than that just to slightly torment you.
I’ve had more than one person describe to me this exact scenario and all kinds of the emotions that go with it. Taking a chance on tangibly expressing yourself is a vulnerable act of faith… most difficult if you are already unsure of yourself. Adults are so opinionated. Teenagers are opinionated. Children are generally guileless and once upon a time they believed what they were told unless proven otherwise. Now they are just as cautious as the rest of us. At some point or another everyone needs reassurance that their creativity has worth to someone else, even if you stand on the principal that it first and foremost matters to you.. Real compliments however, are a valuable type of encouragement. We all should give them and we all need to get them…the sincere, honest and gratifying kind. Another name for it is AFFIRMATION…
When you offer these responsive words of affirmation to someone it means that you see them for who they really are, or can be. It means you care enough to verbalize their potential, their strengths, and their value. Their effort has not gone unnoticed by you. On the receiving end, it means you are being seen for whom you really are, or for whom you are wanting and stretching out to be…and that someone “gets” you. It says “keep trying, keep experimenting, keep exploring” with all that is within you wanting to be known.
That being said, it’s time to be someone who looks for the opportunities at hand to give away this expressive and complimentary encouragement, especially to those who are younger than you.
When you do, you are watering seeds that can grow into a field of dreams and you just might be the one chosen to fan the flame of glimmering hope. You might be the one whose words set into motion something that was only a thought or creative experiment but turns into a future reality. Years later, you could even be the one who receives notoriety and thanks from the one in whom you believed….the one person (or more) that you actually helped become artistically successful. DORY