Ann Rosen

Westfield, USA


An Unexpected Compliment

quote-openSomehow someone thought I was beautiful just as I was, in the middle of Target!quote-close

Ann clearly remembers the moment that she decided to make a conscious effort to share compliments, positive thoughts and kind words as they occurred to her.

She was in the pharmacy section of Target, pushing her youngest daughter, Tatum, in a cart loaded with flip-flops, diapers and Band-Aids adorned with cartoon characters. She had my face pressed up close to her daughter’s as they sang “You are My Sunshine” to each other. They both had big smiles.

It was otherwise just another weekday morning of running errands and Ann was wearing a nightgown she had mistaken for a summer frock. It was an oppressively hot, thick summer day that made her want to wear something that felt like nothing. Tatum liked to pick out her own outfits, so she rocked a dainty floral pattern of one color scheme with a loud plaid of an entirely different one. Her wispy pigtails were beginning to go a summer blonde and her sandaled feet swung happily from the cart.

A man walking by them smiled at Ann as he told her, “You are beautiful.”

She probably looked startled because he looked away and said, “I just thought you should know. I guess that was weird.” He started to walk away.

“Thank you,” she said, starting after him. “I’m sorry. I just wasn’t expecting that.”

He smiled and said, “It’s true.”

It was a strange feeling to receive a compliment like that in the middle of a regular day. Ann didn’t feel particularly beautiful. In fact, she thought she was downright bedraggled, trolling around without a stitch of makeup in flip flops and, unbeknownst to her, pajamas. She was a mom, still working on the baby weight, checking little things off my list and living life. The idea of being beautiful at such a moment was mystifying to her. She had to stop and process it. And that is exactly why that compliment had been so special.

As they returned to singing our song, his words rang through her mind like a lovely bell. It occurred to her then that what she felt most in the moment that this stranger had chosen to highlight was “happy”. She had been truly in the moment, connecting with my little girl. She wondered whether a person really could radiate the beauty of a moment.

Since then, Ann decided that everyone can radiate beauty and tries to acknowledge and appreciate it. At the very least, it gives energy to things she wants to see more of in this world. And it feels good to notice.

– Edited by Soumya John

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