Welcome Back! It makes me so happy to know that you are taking time out of your busy day to read my blog! It’s readers like you who make my digging through hundreds of journals and photos each week to find just the right topic to expand upon…you…you make it all worthwhile. To those of you who are longtime subscribers – thank you for your loyalty! To the newcomers – so glad you’ve joined us!
Before continuing…think for a second, how are you feeling right now? A little warm and fuzzy? Eager to read on? If so, one reason could be your curiosity kicking in, as in, “What IS she going on about?” Or maybe it’s because you just read words of appreciation. Words that can build rapport and encourage cooperation, and comments that leave both you and me, feeling good. Dearest reader, you’ve just been paid a genuine compliment.
Since its inception in 1988, National Compliment Day has been celebrated each year on January 24th. The creators, Kathy Chamberlin and Debby Hoffyman wanted a day to be set aside to connect with others in a positive way, thereby spreading good cheer around. I like this uplifting gesture, but instead of just one dedicated day, why not incorporate this practice into our everyday lives?
From my journal: September 9, 2013 Newbury Park, California
“Still smiling. Second graders are so amusing…Diego said he thinks I am quote ‘ha! ha! funny’ and he likes my red shoes.”
When I think of the compliments I’ve received in my life, the ones from my students have boosted my spirits most. Why? Because they are honest and heartfelt. Incidentally, that is the first “rule” to directing words of praise to someone. First and foremost, a compliment must be sincere. Your spouse saying he’d like to help with the dishes, but because you are so much better at the task, he does not want to get in the way, so he’ll let you do them…is not, sincere.
Next, be specific. Comments made about a valued trait, behavior or someone’s appearance needs to be unique to them. This lets the complimentee know that you’ve been paying attention. I once had a colleague tell me that I seemed like a nice person. Did she mean I was nice in an easy-going sort of way, or nice as in a statement made by a bewildered neighbor being interviewed by a newsperson after a horrendous crime has been committed saying, “She seemed like such a nice person.”
Last but not least, be sensitive. We’ve probably all been the recipient of words meant to flatter but fell short. Like a loved one saying, “Wow, lightening your hair sure covers the gray!” Or as a relative once said to me years ago, “You look like half the person you used to be” after I lost some weight. There is definitely a different way to convey the same messages.
One more reason to offer words of admiration to another, studies show that when hearing positive words about oneself, the part of your brain that is activated when you get a monetary award, lights up, making you feel all happy inside.
Free, easy to do, and beneficial to both the giver and receiver, brighten someone’s day by taking a moment to pay them a compliment. It’ll both make you feel good!