Monday, April 1, 2013

Seal of Approval

Kevin Spacey is Frank Underwood in Netflix's "House of Cards" series. He plays a cold congressman who knows the difference between money and power. As he puts it, "Money is the McMansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries."

In spite of his rock solid resolve and two-faced tactics, Frank does good things sometimes. His new and inexperienced bodyguard makes a grave mistake in an episode and is thus fired and removed from the task force he was a part of. He begs Frank to speak to his captain on his behalf and Frank turns him down at first.

Later in the episode, however, he makes the call to the captain anyway and his bodyguard returns to his service. Frank explains how important actions like that are. They cost him nothing. All they are are words, and they meant the world to Meechum (his bodyguard).

I've been trying to leave behind the self-pity and engage in self-examination. In doing so, I realize that my communication skills are wounded and severely lacking. I've been trying to learn to speak my mind to peoples' face and express what I feel without the crutch of writing it all down and having them read it. Writing feelings out are important, but they can be a cop out too. Speaking words out loud do a hell of a lot more, at least for me. Sometimes when I try and open up verbally, my voice shakes and I just feel like crying because I'm not used to manning up and using my mouth to say difficult things.

So I'm resolving to not be afraid to admit things to people's faces or to tell them they're full of shit. The tables would be turned because usually I'm the one being told I'm full of it, which is true indeed. In addition to being straightforward with people about my shortcomings or theirs, I find that it's mutually beneficial to speak my mind about positive things in people. Whether that be complimenting them on what they're wearing or affirming their natural abilities or just asking how their day has been, it makes them feel important, and it allows me to become closer to them.

They say that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words, but holy hell, when someone gives you a genuine compliment out of the blue, it feels really good. I don't always know how to react to compliments. I usually am not sure what to do or say or anything, but deep down it feels good. People need to hear positive words. Since I grew up being showered with compliments, it's strange to think that some people rarely hear any sort of verbal reinforcement. I can think of a few people I'm friends with that most likely don't have their talents affirmed. Maybe you can too. If so, try and open your mind up to the idea of complimenting often and honestly.

I think there's a sort of stigma we associate with complimenting, especially if it's to the opposite gender. When a guy tells a girl that he thinks she looks pretty or that her dress is beautiful, she might think "Ermagerd, he wants to put it in meeeee... ewww..." And that may be true. Us guys are horndogs sometimes. However, I hope that you won't let society's stupid stigmas keep you from giving out compliments when you want to.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure everyone has been complimented by someone at some point in their life. Just think about how that positive reinforcement made you feel. Most likely it made you feel a little happy and warm and fuzzy inside. After remembering that feeling, hold onto it, go forth, and give out compliments.

                                                            ***Seal of Approval***


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