If you’re a blogger, you know all too well what spam is. If you aren’t a blogger, let me clarify it for you – it’s like junk e-mail. The kind that wastes your time on a good day and question humanity on a bad one. Generally, I go through my blogs deleting what spam makes its vile way through spam filters with thoughts like:
- What does that even mean?
- Who’d want to see that?
- What kind of animal….
- Why would anyone want to waste someone else’s time like this?
- Depraved cretins!
And so on. But today, while sorting through spam on my Dream Analysis site, I had other thoughts completely. I found myself in a batch of spam comments that I call “Keester Sunshine Spam.” It’s all so complimentary and sugar-y it’s as though they’re shooting sunshine up your keester, so it’s Keester Sunshine. Spammy comments like “You’re brilliant and I’m blown away!” and “Has someone notified the genius police yet? You’re a genius!” were deleted one by one.
About halfway through the list I thought:
- I need a better spam plugin on this site.
- Compliments, used in non-spammy hands, could be the most powerful things on earth.
I won’t bore you with the details of spam plugins or how the one on that particular website is disappointing me. I just want to help you to see compliments and words of encouragement in the same light I saw them in about 30 minutes ago. Even though I knew the comments were bogus little cans of spam, I couldn’t help thinking, “Wow. If these were legit words of encouragement and honest, sincere compliments, I’d spend hours a day on this site!” I didn’t think, “If these were legit, I’d slack off. After all, compliments would mean I’d arrived! Why go further?”
Some people seem to think that complimenting others will cause the individual to “slack off” or stop reaching.
Compliments cause people to reach further, do more, and see if they can’t do even better things. The brain says, “They notice! I’m good at what I do! Yay, me!” These words generate such a positive little buzz that you find yourself powered by a gas far more powerful than the one you had before.
By contrast, negative, deconstructive words or (just as bad), NO words at all bring about the complete opposite result. The brain says, “I can’t seem to do anything right! I can’t seem to do enough for him/her. Why even try?”
As you may have noticed, I’ve been MIA (Missing Internet Action in this instance) for nearly a week. The hideous storms that tore through the south left us without internet service for 6 days. If I DIDN’T have over 20 sites that I publish and maintain, it would have been an inconvenience – as it was, it was horrendous. I certainly won’t say disastrous – what happened in Alabama was disastrous. In fact, by comparison, my situation WAS just an inconvenience.
Whatever we call it, I will be busy for days catching up on e-mail, comments, updates, posts, reviews, etc. However, after my epiphany while clearing spam, I simply had to take a break and share a few words about compliments with my Self Help friends.
I also want to say how nice it was to come to Self Help Daily today and find such nice, encouraging (and legit) comments waiting for me. They simply re-affirmed everything I’d been thinking. Each wonderful comment made me want to roll my sleeves up further and do my absolute best.
That’s the effect positive words have on a person – whether they’re children or not. However, for children and young people, the truth seems to be especially TRUE. All caps. I’ve always felt this way. So much so that whenever anyone would (or even when they do now) tell my daughters how beautiful they are, I’d always add something to the effect of, “… and very smart!” or “… and they have great personalities, too!” Even when I was as young as they are now, it just seemed to me that a child should hear all sorts of wonderful things about themselves. They truly gain a sense of their identity from our words, which is why I never wanted them to ONLY identify themselves by the way they look.
In a very real sense, we all gain a sense of our identity from other people”s words – especially people who place a hefty price tag on other people’s opinions.
In our daily conversations, we’d all do well to remember that things we treat so casually (our words) are actually the most powerful tools we own. With these tools we either build people UP or we tear them down.
It’s our choice. Do we want strong, confident “I can do anything!” people in our home and workplace or do we want to spend our lives with defeated, beaten down “I can’t do anything right!” people?
As soon as words leave our mouth, they begin creating the world we know.
Someone once said, “People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be, not what you nag them to be.” I’m not sure who said the words or when they said them, but I do know this – they hit it right on the head.