Life isn’t a fairy tale. But in the 2007 movie Enchanted it is. Well, until the beautiful Disney cartoon damsel gets thrown into a well by the wicked stepmother and gets catapulted into the scary land known as dun dun dun Manhattan. As out of place and crazy as Giselle, the idyllic princess, seems when she lands in New York, she does something we don’t do enough, something I don’t do enough. She boldly and unaffectedly notices and comments on the true beauty of individuals around her.
When Robert and his daughter spy Giselle helpless and stranded in the Big Apple, they take pity on her and let her stay with them for the night. The next morning, Robert’s girlfriend, Nancy, arrives at the apartment and throws a fit when she finds another woman there. Nancy full of New York style and attitude couldn’t be more different than Giselle (who showed up the night before in the poufiest dress in the history of the world and her hair in mounds of ringlets). But instead of noticing their differences, or returning Nancy’s snarky comments, or questioning why Nancy isn’t dressed in ribbons and ruffles, Giselle sincerely exclaims, “Oh, she is lovely.”
Later in the film, Giselle approaches a woman in Robert’s office and says, “Oh my goodness, your hair is lovely. You’re beautiful. The man who holds your heart is a lucky fellow indeed.” And to the woman’s husband, who is in the midst of divorcing his wife, Giselle proclaims, “You are lucky, just look at the way your wife’s eyes sparkle.”
Do you approach strangers and compliment them that specifically?
You don’t have to say it like Giselle—in princess speak—but imagine approaching someone, looking them in the eye, and saying:
Why not? What’s holding you back? What if we truly noticed beauty in everyone? In Matthew 5:14, Jesus tells us, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” Are we shining that light? Are we brightening those around us, illuminating their true beauty?
It sounds totally dorky. But why? Why have we embraced such a satirical state that genuinely approaching friends, let alone strangers, and telling them how marvelous they are feels weird? We’ve been called to cheer others on. Paul explains it like this in Ephesians 5: 17,19 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is… Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
Giselle wasn’t too far off, singing all the time.
When someone genuinely compliments me, it makes my day brighter, so why wouldn’t I take opportunities to shine light like that to others? I’m not talking stalker style. I’m not talking insincere, fake compliments either. I mean truly noticing the beauty and talents of those around us just as we notice the beauty of a flower or appreciate the flavor of a decadent brownie.
Think what a difference we could make if each of us gave an authentic compliment to a stranger today. Tomorrow I’m attending a prayer service at my kids’ school, running a few errands, and taking one of my children to soccer practice. I have multiple opportunities to identify and point out true beauty in others. I’m challenging myself, and you, too, to seek true beauty in someone the next place you go. Who knows whose day we could brighten? It could lighten someone’s dark mood, bring a smile to someone on the verge of tears, give hope to someone feeling hopeless. A compliment could remind one of God’s beautiful children of their beautiful true reflection.
I’d love to hear, leave a comment on the blog sharing how do you plan on shining some light today?
Laura L. Smith