Give Compliments #bebetter52
“I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments,chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate . . . the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.”
Writer Jonathan Carroll’s quote sums up this week’s Be Better challenge nicely. Complete small acts of kindness—specifically, giving genuine compliments to those around you. It doesn’t cost you a thing but can add so much to the lives of others.
Compliments should be genuine. To achieve this authenticity, eye contact is crucial. Without eye contact, we may as well just send an email or text. Eye contact speaks volumes about the sincerity of your compliment.
One Ted Talk by Tracie Boom highlights the power of compliments.
What she calls “ego massages” and spreading sunshine through compliments is her topic of focus. People are hungrier for both giving and receiving compliments than we often imagine. She explains that to make more powerful compliments, we should:
- Be more detailed and specific to pull out honest observations about the other person.
- Be more confident when delivering a compliment. Don’t shy away and second-guess yourself when speaking; be brave and strong to own the compliment.
- Be encouraging more frequently because “people flourish when they are given encouragement.”
It is important that we avoid phony praise. Don’t compliment someone simply to boost your reputation or to get praise in return. Compliments must be true to be effective, as explained in the article “Learning to Compliment Effectively." It is also key to avoid praises that will set up competition. Instead, compliments should be a way to add sunshine to the life of someone else and act as a source of motivation and encouragement for that person.
Both the giver and the receiver get something out of a compliment. First, it can help us broaden our social networks. Complimenting a stranger or acquaintance can open up conversation and build a bridge to immediate connection. Complimenting a friend can also improve your relationship, because people want to be around encouraging people and do appreciate praise.
Compliments can improve our mental health, too. By seeking the good in other people, we are likely to build our own self-esteem by learning how to focus on the positives in ourselves as well. Good deeds such as giving compliments have also been shown to boost our happiness level.
The book Find Something Nice to Say, written by Debby Hoffman and Kathy Chamberlin, explains what to do and what not to do when complimenting, explores different types of compliments, and advises on how to effectively deliver a good compliment. Check it out!
Give specific and unique compliments this week, and to signify completion of your Be Better challenge, take a picture of your favorite kindness quote and post with #bebetter52. Remember that people need to be believed in and told why they are wonderful. So be that encouraging figure in the lives of others this week and every week.
More on Compliments:
- When complimenting an accomplishment, don't just praise what the person did, but instead acknowledge their character: cbn
- To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. Science explains why compliments feel so good: medicaldaily
- The more specific compliments are, the better: psychologytoday
- Tips for how to receive a compliment: lifestyle