Free Compliments

Cassandra Tondro, "Butterfly Effect," abstract art

Greetings Friends,

I see small acts of kindness everywhere these days.

I was walking at Kimball Park and saw this posted on the community bulletin board:

Ventura Kimball Park Bulletin Board

Free Compliments with tear-off compliments at the bottom of the sheet. All of the compliments had been taken, so I didn’t get to see what they were, but I love the idea!

It got me thinking about what I could offer in this same way. Could I post free small paintings or drawings there? Would anyone take them?

And what affect do these unexpected free offerings have on the world? It’s like the butterfly effect — a small change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere. The flap of a butterfly’s wings might ultimately cause a tornado.

The creator of Free Compliments doesn’t know how the compliments were received. It could have been profound. Maybe the compliment was exactly what someone needed that day and completely changed their attitude, affecting how they treated others, which affects how they treat others, and on and on extending out in ripples.

Free Compliments may not seem like a big deal, but I think it has an effect on our psyches. It’s an act that defies our cultural norms. A kind and caring gesture offered for free — no expectations and no obligations.

It’s the start of something big!

What large or small acts of kindness can you offer to the world? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,

Painting at top: “Butterfly Effect,” 24 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas.



  1. What a beautiful painting Cassandra, like thousands of butterflies rising up! And what a generous and thoughtful post. I am sure people would love your gifts of the occasional tiny small
    painting or eco print. As you said it may be just what someone needs at that moment. A long time ago I read Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and your post brought this one to mind “Wherever I go, and whomever I encounter, I will bring them a gift. The gift may be a compliment, a flower, or a prayer. Today, I will give something to everyone I come into contact with, and so I will begin the process of circulating joy, wealth, and affluence in my life and in the lives of others.” (part one of the Law) This one really resonated with me and comes naturally; I always bring a small bouquet in a recycled jar or bottle: sweet peas or whatever is blooming from my garden or in spontaneous encounters offer a compliment or hug. (I am sure I need more work on the other spiritual laws, need to dig out my book! lol ) But I love your idea of leaving little pieces of art. I am always down on the beach so could leave them weighted with rocks far from the tide. Found a lovely message in a bottle there one time, what a delight. I left it there for someone who may have needed that message. Thank you Cassie. Sending love.

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I like your idea of leaving little bits of art on the beach. I know I always enjoy finding surprises like that. Every now and then I see painted rocks that people have left to be found in Grant Park. I used to leave pennies, nickels and dimes hidden in spots on trails. Sort of an abundance reminder!

  2. I love this idea. You could post drawings, or those “failures” cut up into irregular or regular pieces. the question woudl be autonomous or your real name or a made up name.

    1. I like this idea, Bee. I certainly have enough rejects to go around! I don’t know about signing them. My gut feeling is to do it anonymously, especially since they’re “rejects.” That’s always tricky, isn’t it?

  3. Love the painting! I have been complimenting the Caterpillars and Monarchs in our garden! So the painting resonates! Thank you! You are a wise and gentle soul and i appreciate knowing you!

  4. Free compliments – what a coincidence – I was, only a couple of hours ago, the recipient of a ‘free compliment’, and it made my day (or probably my week!) I was sitting in the restaurant of my local Ikea when a lady who had been sitting nearby said that she was sorry to interrupt, but wanted to tell me that she thought I had beautiful hair (it is my natural colour, now silvery grey for the first time in over fifty years), she said it looked so shiny and that she hopes hers will one day be like mine! Wow, I was taken aback, but obviously thanked her. I shan’t forget her comments in a hurry, and I have been reminded to continue my occasional efforts to compliment others. Sorry to waffle on about nothing to do with art, but it is easy to forget what a positive impact we can make on others by something that costs us nothing!

    1. Wow! What an interesting story, Jill. Thanks for sharing it here. You’re right — it’s a great reminder of the power of a compliment from those we don’t even know.

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