22 year old Shannon writes Awash With Wonder, a blog about living intentionally. She takes experiences in her life, looks for the universal lesson in them, and offers them to her readers in the hopes that they’ll learn something too. She also has dual citizenship between South Africa and The United Kingdom but lives in Florida. Be friends with her on twitter and facebook!
I had this really vivacious Creative Writing Professor this semester who made class really engaging and fun. She is one of those rare teachers that inspires you in a fundamental way and a few weeks ago she complimented me in one the most sincere ways I’ve ever been complimented.
Sometimes when I am feeling particularly masochistic, I cycle 6 miles to a 80 minute hot yoga class and then cycle 6 miles back. On the way there I feel great: I’m healthy! I’m helping the environment! I get to listen to my favorite Pandora stations and cycle through my favorite neighborhoods! On the way back my thoughts are mostly influenced by my incredibly tired legs and they’re much less enthusiastic. My professor said she saw me once on my cycle home, yoga mat strapped to my back, and thought to herself how I just looked like someone who lives their life with integrity and how she felt in that moment inspired to write a story.
That’s an incredibly nice thing to say to someone; it goes beyond surface compliments, like commenting on the prettiness of an outfit, straight to the heart of who they are. It changed my whole day. What’s funny is that day that she saw me I had tried to talk on the phone while cycling across the street, lost control of my bike, and cycled into a wall catapulting myself over the handlebars. All on the side of a very busy highway. It was more than a little embarrassing but the sting of my scraped elbows and knees no longer bothered me as soon as she made this sweet observation.
It made me think about two things:
- The message that we send out to the world.
- The things we think about other people but never say out loud.
My first challenge to you this week is to actively project who you’d like to be to the rest of the world. You want to be seen as someone who has a positive, friendly outlook? Smile a lot! You want to be seen as someone who thinks the sky is five seconds from falling on us all? Adopt Eeyore’s general demeanor.
And my second challenge for you (and me!) is to say the kind things you think about people out loud. For example, my sister is one of the most beautiful people I have ever seen without makeup on. Often, I’ll wake up in the morning and she’ll be pouring orange juice or doing some other morning activity and she is just so gorgeous. I think it so often, and I see her so often, that I hardly ever feel the need to say it out loud. This week I’m going to make an effort to compliment people as genuinely and sincerely as I can, who knows what effect it will have on their day?