Have you heard the saying, “give me some credit, please,” and I don’t mean a new credit card or loan? Also, there’s the missive, “give credit where credit is due,” and this one may originate with payment of a kind. The payment I’m referring to is paying someone a compliment or a long overdue hoorah for something selfless done or an accomplishment overlooked.
“Give me some credit, I’m not stupid.” This is a sort of begging for acknowledgment from someone who hasn’t recognized one’s value or contribution to society, when you sort of expected it.
Giving credit and paying attention are some key words, that bear a second look. Have we monetized and valued, as in placed a valuation on, how much we attend to or care for others? Might that be one social consequence of capitalism?
In regard to giving credit where credit is due, I’m a tad angry at my Fitbit fitness and sleep tracker right now. A couple of mornings ago I checked my device for affirmation of what I thought had been about nine hours or more of sleep and, what? Over and over again, I checked it, double checked it, and triple checked it, it handed me a paltry and confident, two hours and fifty-one minutes of sleep!
To say that I’m disappointed with that dumb and totally wrong assessment of my sleep is an understatement. I’ll get over it, but really. I needed confirmation from my usually trusty device for a rare awesome night’s sleep. Is it too much to ask from a technological device, let alone certain people, to just give us some credit, rather than gaslight us, in the vein of the second guess, “did that really happen?”
If it weren’t for these little glitches in life, however, we columnists or essayists wouldn’t have much to write about. We tend to notice, ponder, then write about the minor and minute as well as the major and important stuff in life.
I once knew someone who was purposely short on giving compliments to their loved ones, exclaiming that flattery would give them big heads. First, it’s my understanding that compliments are genuine and flattery is not. Secondly, genuine praise toward someone probably makes them feel valued, grateful, and humble. And, surely arrogance isn’t an automatic reaction to feeling valued.
I always thought a compliment was a mirror. Consistent praise is more likely than not to instill confidence in who you are, your skills, and how you appear to others.
My friend and neighbor, Leona, keeps us valued, feeding us from her stores of food and friendship, throughout the year. Weekly, she acknowledges my writing. She’s a role model for how to value others through her words and presence. She knows how to balance presence and privacy, a rare trait. Thank you, Leona.
Expressing gratitude and appreciation, acknowledging someone out loud can make such an impression for good. There’s a difference between thinking that you’ve done something valuable and knowing that it’s valued.
Please say it out loud, speak it in words. The thank you note was once the clear and proper protocol for indicating gratitude. In today’s parlance, a verbal or technological thank you, via a text message or Facebook messenger greeting, is more likely the medium for offering one’s thankfulness. That’s okay too.
There are two sides to the coin of noticing someone. In a rural area such as Bedford County, people know you but you don’t always know them, their names or faces, that is. People in rural locales are familiar. “I think that was the sister-in-law of that guy that used to go to our church way back when.” Often, folks are distantly related to you or someone you know in the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation vein, but you never knew it.
On the flip side is “self”-consciousness, sometimes you think people are noticing your bad hair day, that you look fat in that new sweater, that you didn’t mow your grass quickly enough, that you forgot their name, etc. But, in reality, they’re paying no mind or attention to you.
If people notice you, they’re likely comparing your hair to theirs, turning the mirror onto themselves. Probably, most people are just going about their day minding their own business, concerned about their own hair, the fit of their clothes, their grass that’s grown too long for their liking after that week-long rain, and what to do about their own private concerns. They barely notice you at all.
I have received a number of comments from some of you who have noticed and valued this column during my 2020-tenure. Let this be my thank you note to you for indicating that something I wrote strikes a chord in the chorus of your own life. I appreciate hearing from you, it means something to me and I thank you very much.
Please, guys, if you have some overdue credit you should disperse, do it without delay. Tell that cashier thank you, with gusto. Tell someone, “job well done.” Thank the gentlemen and gentlewomen who hold the store door open for you. If you’re used to receiving kindness, refresh your browser, wake-up and appreciate it anew.
Let’s try not in 2021 to underestimate the value of kindness’ extended. Give a hearty cheer to your postal carrier for delivering your stimulus check. Step back a moment and let the person who seems rushed and stressed, check out in front of you at the grocery store. Don’t take for granted the people who bless you daily in the smallest of ways, give them some credit, please.