I am an encourager. Something deep in my heart wants to help others feel loved and valuable and worthy and comfortable in their own skin, which is why I am constantly going on about how beautiful and awesome I think you are. And I don’t just say it to boost your ego (or my own!); I say it because I truly believe you are amazing and I want you to believe that, too.
In fact, it’s possible you haven’t heard positive words about yourself enough or in a long time. Maybe you used to hear encouraging words a lot when you were younger, but as an adult the fountains of compliments and praise have dried up. Or, perhaps, your partner, parents, friends or co-workers do tell you you are amazing, but your inner voice tells a different story.
Either way, I am here to help! Today, I want to help you understand the value of a compliment. Compliments serve many purposes, but there are two distinct purposes I’d like to address here:
1.) Compliments Promote Inward and Outward Awareness
Our brains live on autopilot, and it’s not always a scenic flight. We don’t think twice about saying, “Well, that was stupid of me!” when we make a mistake, but neither do we think to say, “Well done!” to ourselves when we’ve done something right. And this feels off to me.
It’s not that we shouldn’t acknowledge our mistakes or work to improve our shortcomings; we most definitely should! But all of this must be done in a way that promotes a healthy inner dialogue.
I believe a healthy inner dialogue starts with the good things we say to and about ourselves. If there is not already a positive framework, then self-correction will not feel like correction at all. It will feel like punishment. It’s the difference between, “Melissa, you’re an idiot and you better get this right next time!” and “Melissa, you’re only human and I’m sure you’ll do better next time!”
Intentionally complimenting ourselves helps to build this positive framework, but also forces us to be more aware and takes our brains off of autopilot. If you set a goal to compliment yourself five times every day this week, your brain would be forced into looking for opportunities to do so. You’d become more aware of your body, your intentions, your work, and so much more!
And the same is true when we compliment others. When we set our intentions on complimenting or praising others, it forces us to be more aware of the people around us. I mean, how easy is it to go through the checkout at the grocery store and never even make eye contact with the cashier? Or how natural has it become to give your employees the next to-do without saying anything about the project they just completed?
Complimenting yourself and others might not be easy or natural for you. It does take practice and a conscious effort towards being less distracted and more aware. But the people who have learned the value of a compliment know this secret: compliments create an infectious energy.
2.) Compliments Create An Infectious Energy
Whether we want to admit it our not, most of us desire to be affirmed. We want to hear the outfit we spent time and effort putting together looks amazing on us. We want to hear that our presentation was impressive. We want people to notice our physical changes when we’ve worked hard at eating right and exercising. But why?
The not so obvious answer is energy. Have you ever noticed the second a compliment is uttered there is a change in energy? The space between the giver and receiver feels a little warmer, moods change, hearts soften. I believe this is because compliments feed the soul, and the soul is the place from where energy flows.
Often, it is assumed people only want compliments to feed their egos; and while this may be true some of the time, it is most certainly not true all of the time. I think subconsciously people want compliments because of the energy they feel when the compliment is received.
Have you ever been feeling really unmotivated at work and then someone gives you a sincere compliment about the work you are doing? It gives you a new energy about the work, doesn’t it? Or maybe your relationship with your significant other has been on the rocks, so you make an agreement to genuinely compliment each other more. Then, as if magically, there is a new energy in the relationship. It’s contagious. It’s infectious.
Once you start experiencing the energy from compliments and the effect it has, you can’t help but want more of it. And, the good news is, you can never have too much! We often think unlimited compliments are only for children because they “need” them for their development. But, the truth is, even as adults, we never stop developing. We never stop needing the benefits of a compliment.
On my free “30 Days of Blossoming” checklist, I include two activities involving compliments because I truly believe they are a vital part of blossoming into your best, truest self. You can get your free checklist by subscribing to The BlossomWriter Insider here.