There is a whole lot of science out there about compliments and the benefits of them.  Giving them, receiving them, being exposed to them; overall, compliments are a benefit to one’s health.  There is science that compliments benefit both the giver and the receiver. Yet, the world doesn’t have an abundance of them. Compliments aren’t handed out on a regular basis. My world isn’t filled with people who regularly give out compliments. 

That is, unless I’m at an Aerial Dance class or event. Inside the constraints of Aerial Dance and all things associated, compliments flow regularly. Women cheer each other on.  Women notice other women doing hard things and accomplishing them. Or at least continuing to show up and try again. Women support women regardless of where they are in their aerial journeys.  Women cheer on other women regardless of if they know one another’s names or have ever crossed the other person’s path. Regardless of beliefs or past choices, women cheer each other on.  All that matters is humans doing hard stuff recognizing and cheering on other humans doing hard stuff. 

The best thing about a compliment is you can always give one.  Compliments are one of the easiest ways to tell someone “I see you showing up.”  I would argue, the days someone shows up and struggles through every move they try, are the days they need the compliments the most.  I know, the days I cannot hit the move or am struggling are the days I need the win. They are the days I struggle to show up and hope I can just make it through class, maybe without anyone noticing me. And yet, those days are the days someone noticing my effort means all the more to me.  Those are the days when someone saying “you did it”, regardless of the accomplishment, gives me the support I did not know I needed.  

Compliments also seem to be one of the hardest things for people to hand out. I know, I think of way more compliments than I say. It is hard to compliment others.  The extra meaningful compliments seem to be the most intimidating ones.  This was even a topic during our goals discussion with Founder Paula earlier this year. I have found, when we are in class and a student hits a hard move, or is wearing something I love, or is simply doing cool stuff, it is easier to offer the compliment. Its easy to say something in passing or immediately after a cool thing. So I lean into them.  I give as many of those compliments as I can. But I have also used my experience at Aerial to encourage me in the rest of my life to cheer people on. To encourage simply showing up.  To give the compliment, even when I second guess myself. One of the truly best things about Aerial Dance is the environment of encouragement and support that has and continues to foster. I love it so much, I try my hardest to live it all the time.