I was at Home Goods recently (let’s not talk about the fact that I was there twice in the same week, ok?) and after perusing the aisles, valiantly trying to avoid loading up my cart with everything in the clearance section, I took my few purchases up to the front of the store and noticed that there weren’t any cashiers. I was only standing there for a few seconds before a lovely sales clerk came over to ring me up.
I recognized her as an employee with whom I had interacted a few times before (because finally having a Home Goods in our city has been a pretty exciting thing!) and we began chatting about the silverware I was purchasing and how it was going to be replacing the set that we received as a wedding gift.
We talked about our anniversaries (we’ve been married for twenty years and she and her husband were coming up on thirty years) and how we were celebrating these milestones and how many kitchen items had survived all of the years of wedded bliss. And then, as I was loading my bags into my cart, the words just came flying out of my mouth.
“I just want you to know that every time I shop here I am always so impressed by how friendly and personable you are. You exude joy and it’s obvious that you truly love what you do!”
She was so startled by my comment and her face registered the shock but this was quickly followed by a huge smile. I saw tears welling up in her eyes as she expressed her gratitude for the compliment and with the line starting to back up behind me, I gave her another smile and moved to leave the store.
After returning the cart and gathering up my bags, I headed out to my car only to realize that I, myself, was also fighting back tears. What? Why would I be the one crying? Am I just a crazy hormonal lady these days or what? Well, yes, there’s that. But also, it dawned on me that even though she was the one receiving the praise, I was the one who felt SO good about giving it.
And, I think that’s really how it’s supposed to work, isn’t it? I was the one giving the encouragement but I left having pretty much the same kind of emotions I have experienced when other people have encouraged me. The feelings we have when we give praise are so similar to the feelings we have when we receive praise that there is barely any distinction between the two.
You see, I truly believe that when we build up others we get this beautiful added bonus of experiencing joy in one of its purest forms. We start out with no expectations of getting anything in return, but what we find is that WE are the ones who are truly blessed in that moment.
So, here’s my question for you.
Who can you encourage this week?
I hope you’ll be watching for opportunities to build someone up. Because you might just be surprised by how you end up being the one who really benefits from it the most.
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