Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Best Compliment

I recently heard two radio show co-hosts discussing the question What is the best compliment you could receive?

The female co-host said her favorite compliment is, "I enjoy spending time with you."  The male co-host replied jokingly that his favorite compliment would be, "Now that you've lost your hair, you look better."

The conversation got me thinking.  What is the best compliment I could receive?  I wasn't sure of my answer.  Until I received it this week.

The best compliment I could receive is:  I trust you.

These words are more often implied than explicitly stated.  Someone said these words to me this week, and it clicked.  That is my favorite compliment, whether it is stated or implied.

I tend to interpret many different words and actions as either I trust you or I don't trust you.
  • "Can you watch my child?" = I trust you
  • "We're not telling you our baby's name." = I don't trust you
  • Discussing a parenting struggle = I trust you 
  • Crying = I trust you

Editor's Note:  I'm not bringing up the baby name issue to anger anyone or stir up old issues.  I'm simply trying to explain why it makes me sad when people don't share their baby names.  Please don't leave me angry comments defending expectant parents' right to privacy. :)
I suppose this is what makes me agree to any favor I'm asked to do.  I enjoy being trusted with a task.

Let's not waste anybody's time discussing the psychobabble behind why I desire to be trusted or why I have a hard time trusting other people but work very hard to earn their trust.  Who really wants to pull at that string?

Sometimes people don't share information and it feels like a lack of trust.  My logical brain tells me that some people have a hard time being vulnerable or don't know how to trust a few people without losing control altogether.

I have a friend who is one of the strongest women I know.  She is independent in a way I never will be, and she can carry loads that would topple other people.  We've reached an understanding where we both know that I'm emotional and sensitive, often to a fault, and she's more of a warrior but perhaps too walled off.  We are able to joke about our differences, and we can even learn from each other.  When she recently opened up to me and shared extremely personal information with me, I treasured her vulnerability as a fragile gift.  I could recognize that trusting me in this way was a rare moment that made me feel honored and purposeful.  This is delicate trust.

This week I had two friends ask me for prayer for critically ill family members, and these women had never talked to me about prayer before.  This is precious trust.

A friend's grandmother passed away the same night her son fell off the couch and broke his arm this week.  She allowed me into her home, without cleaning it, and stood before me with tears on her naked face.  This is bare trust.

Sometimes trust is wrapped around joy as well.  Whispering news of a pregnancy or a new job or weight finally lost all involve trust.  This is joyful trust.

Years ago a friend of mine experienced a painful miscarriage.  She did not tell me about it until many months later, when I also learned that my sister had known all along.  I felt betrayed by my sister and asked her why she hadn't told me that our mutual friend was suffering.  She told me that she had been trusted with the information and refused to break that trust.  That has always stuck with me.  I wanted to be like my sister.  This is fiercely defended trust.

Last year I attended a Beth Moore conference that was basically about how to be a Christian woman.  Beth said she wanted to talk about "being female well."  At one point, she had us repeat this sentence:  I want to be a woman other women can trust.  That line also comes back to me in the moments when I have to decide how to respond to someone.

I truly do want to be a woman that other women (or people) can trust.

What is the best compliment you could receive?


1 comment:

  1. "I think you're the kindest lady I know"
    Course I suppose I have a bit of ego playing on that.. so it's always important to me to know my own intentions and that of the speaker. I may not be beautiful tho my vanity wishes it were so. Nor incredibly smart or witty. But I hope my heart is true and my actions back it up.

    Ps. I don't have a sister; have brothers. But I wouldn't choose to promise a trust to one person over the trust of a beloved sister. I would discuss that as kindly as I could but I have boundaries I don't cross. I call it honor. If a friend felt I should betray that boundary and honor less.. then my friend is mistaken. I would no more dishonor her as I would my sis. Just sayin. . .
    I admire trust. And for me it is entwined with honor