Monday, May 9, 2016

Don't Hold Back Your Praise

By Andrea Merrell

I was amazed at the instant change in her countenance. Even her personality changed.

After coming to this particular doctor’s office for years, this woman had never been personable—at least not to me. She never smiled and rarely looked me in the eye. It was hard to tell if she was shy, depressed, or hated her job. She was definitely all business.


On one visit, I noticed she had changed the style and color of her hair. She looked very attractive but still sullen. As I waited for her to finish her dialogue with another patient, my eyes kept focusing on her hair. When she finally turned her attention to me, I said “I love your hair. It looks absolutely stunning.”

The difference in her was incredible. Her eyes lit up and she jokingly said she wondered why I had been staring at her. We had a very pleasant and animated conversation about hair before I took my seat. As I waited, I tuned in to her conversation with other patients and coworkers. Again, incredible. She was bubbly and sweet as she joked with people while going about her duties.

That one tiny word of genuine, heart-felt praise transformed her. It was as if someone flipped a switch and the room filled with light.

This scenario made me wonder how many times I have held back my praise and missed the opportunity to bless someone. It’s possible that the person we wrongly judge by their attitude is waiting for a single word of encouragement or approval. I know there have been times in my own life when a simple affirmation spurred a spark of hope and caused me to believe in myself and try a little harder.


Shallow praise is worthless, but sincere words can change a person’s life forever. Look for the good in others and don’t be afraid to tell them. 

(Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles/sattva.)

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