On the Bright Side, You’re Not a Hairy Monkey
Today, I noticed that someone had scribbled “You are beautiful!” in chalk on the campus sidewalks.
I do not know who the message is aimed at. But being the pessimist that I am, it struck me as all wrong–especially if it was aimed at everyone. Because whatever your definition of beautiful is, not everyone is beautiful. (Heck, I’m pretty sure nobody would use the adjective to describe any aspect of me. I might be quirky, though, on a good day.) It’s like being in a self-esteem class where you’re forced to feel good about yourself.
I’m most bothered by the fact that it’s just a throwaway compliment. Some people find it easy to tell everyone that they are beautiful or smart or any number of things just to make other people feel good. However, if making people feel good is your goal, bake cookies (or give away chocolate–that seems to work like a charm 99.9% of the time) rather than say things that you don’t mean. Otherwise it cheapens words and sentiments until they’re nothing but empty consonants and vowels.
Or maybe this is just me. I’m extremely stingy on the compliments. But when I do happen to give one, you can be sure that I really do mean it and not flattering someone just to get into their good graces.