Your Greatest Compliment

Women are twice as likely as men to get depressed. Nurses as a group, still mostly a women's profession, internalize their feelings, their ability to express themselves and their ability to support one another. From this weakened state of self-esteem and self-worth, shame, guilt and self-loathing, the love directed our way is overlooked, if not ignored.

The nursing profession as a whole needs a major overhaul in the realm of emotional competency.

The great culprit is DOUBT about ourselves, about the existence of a Higher Power Who loves us, about the strength of our ability to mother and nurture others and ourselves, and an apathetic attitude as to the beauty that surrounds us and to any of the other vital stuff that is everywhere available.

The antidote to doubt is faith, which is the absolute knowing that God/ess is in our beautiful souls, as well as in everything and everyone else; a faith that everything God/ess creates is good all the time.

This means that there is one power--GOD/ess--not two powers, good and evil.

Which brings me to the act of a compliment given and received in astute clarity (not to be ignored or brushed away) and then given in a spirit of generosity to another human being.

The compliment is heart felt, sincere and honest and when given in this spirit, a compliment can heal other people and perhaps can heal the world.

One such compliment was given to me the day of my father's memorial service. The service was held at our home, along the meandering Conestoga River in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on a most beautiful day, 6 months after my dad's passing, on his 88th birthday.

My sister came in from Oregon with her three daughters, husband and two grandchildren. I had not spoken to her since my father's death, due to a dispute over where to place my father's ashes.

Butterflies were abundant and one alighted on the third eye of the minister giving the service that day. I synchronistically purchased a shimmering, jeweled sequined shirt, the sequins in the shape of large butterflies.

Who could have planned for this metamorphosis?

At one point in the service, the minister was discussing the incredible qualities of both my parents; how selflessly they gave of themselves to the Civil Rights cause of the 1950's and 1960's, how well loved they were in various community circles, and of the special gentleness that typified my father, and how people were drawn to him and loved him.

The minister then said: "They don't make them like Kitty and Frank anymore." (The names of both of my parents.)

What happened next surprised everyone, especially me.

A fellow nurse and colleague of mine, now a minister, was sitting next to me. She stood up, not missing a beat, and said,"Oh yes they do and she is sitting here right next to me."

Then she went on for what seemed like an eternity about what a great nurse I am, what I do behind the scenes for patients, etc, etc.

I burst into tears and could not stop crying. The tears seemed to touch off the grief of an entire life time. I tried to control my emotions, but was unable to do so.

Yet I couldn't help thinking: if God/ess slipped me into a world that is good, with good things to contribute, then I needed to practice the fine art of feeling good, to tune into my emotional state at regular intervals, and elevate my moods to love, laughter and joy at any time, at any given moment.

I knew that this optimistic world view is what nurses need to support in one another, to feel their own power, to speak their truth to each other, to Doctors, and to themselves.

That one compliment changed the course of my life, as we sat on the banks of the meandering Conestoga River that flows by my home, as we commemorated the lives of my father and mother. Forgiveness melted away all passed hurts and grievances.

Look at your own life and think of your own experience with a compliment.

Has there been a compliment that stands out as a catalyst for complete change in your life?

Did you notice that doubt had to be banished completely to take the actions required to live up to the beautiful potential of the compliment?

About the Author

Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: Check Out Kate's Blog: