Saturday, September 19, 2020

In Praise of Praise

      One thing that I like about myself, is that I am a planner. I think about what is coming and I prepare. (Preparing for a pandemic? Separate blog post!) Also, I practice: I set a goal, plan the steps to accomplish it, record my progress, and celebrate success.

       For example, I decided last year, on my birthday, to take a long walk every day, regardless of weather conditions.

*    I got a pedometer app on my phone to track my steps. (All my friends count their steps, so I am following the crowd.)

      *    I told my doctor my plan and goal.

*    I incorporated a secondary plan: taking photos of Mt. Blanca for a possible picture book.

       This year, I reported to my doctor that I was taking about 28,000 steps a week. (Truthfully, my friends win; they are taking 10,000 steps a day!)

       She celebrated!

       However, something about myself that I don't like, is that I am generally a reserved, reticent person. I struggle to introduce myself to strangers – although this becoming easier for me as an Airbnb host. Also, I am good at conversation, but not at asking people about themselves.

       Although I often appreciate something about a person – style of dress or hair, voice, hard work, helping others – words of praise rarely leave my mouth. They stay inside me and add to the pile of regret I've stored up over the years. I wish, for the hundredth time, that I could give praise easily.

       Recently, I received an unsolicited comment from an acquaintance, praising me for my writing. She sent me an email saying: "… you are such a good writer; you include personal experiences, historical perspectives, and make it all relevant to a current situation. Well done!"

       My heart soared with happiness! 💖🙋💥

       Her comment included specific details, how my writing helps, and a final pat on the back.  This was a perfect compliment: praise that recognized my skills and gifts, inspiration to continue,  and encouragement to get better.

       I want to pass this gift of praise, that I received, on to others.

       I don't want to be reticent anymore, especially when it comes to praising others.

       Here is my plan.

1.      Set a goal: give an unsolicited compliment every single day. Just like taking a walk, I wish to give praise. Is there an app for that?

2.      Steps to accomplish my goal:

*    Tell everyone in the world through my blog. (Ok, I only have about two followers, but still … )

I'm starting this week, at the 2020 Autumn Equinox, before we head into the dark, dreary time of winter, because this seems a wonderful time to begin a project of praising others.

*    Decide how or where to record my progress (since I don't currently have an app):

o   Report in a current journal -- I don't use any on a day-to-day basis right now.

o   Create a separate daily journal (I am very good at creating and using journals.)

o   Computer spreadsheet noting date, time, person/s to whom I praised.

o   Call or text someone who cares.

3.      Record progress: see options above.

4.      Celebrate success:

*     Report on this blog 4 times/year on equinoxes and solstices.

*     One year from now, on the 2021 Autumn Equinox, make my year's report in my blog, get a growler of my favorite beer at the local brew pub, light a big fire in our fire pit, dance naked in the moonlight.

Okay, probably not that last bit, so don't come sneaking around to spy on me for a thrill.

But you are welcome to join me this time next year. We can lift a glass in praise of praise. Even if we're still separated, or lonely, or sad.

       My hope, of course, is that praising others will eventually become easy and comfortable for me, just like taking a walk. I won't need to track the compliments I give each day, or have an annual celebration – Wait!!!

       Maybe an Annual Moment in Praise of Praise anyway!