A Little Joy to Go Around

Today we are going to talk about the JOY of compliments.

Who doesn’t love to receive compliments?

Well… many people are uncomfortable with compliments but let’s get over that today.

We’ve all heard the example of someone saying to a lady “I like your dress!”  The lady replies: “What? This old thing?”  Or “I got it on the sale rack.”  Or “Sally gave it to me. SHE has such great taste.”

Why do we do that?

  • We believe the other person is not being sincere
  • We don’t want to look like we are proud
  • We want to appear humble– not big-headed
  • We are afraid the other person is setting us up for a request later on
  • The compliment is about a part of ourselves that we struggle to accept
  • Maybe we think the compliment is backhanded. For example “your hair looks good today.” Does that mean it looks bad the other days? Or at least our brains tell us that.
  • We just feel awkward and don’t know how to continue the conversation
  • We now feel obligated to compliment them in return.
  • We don’t know WHY anyone at all would be impressed with us

A person giving you a compliment is trying to express appreciation for some aspect of your life.

Isn’t that nice? Someone appreciates you! 

Appreciation, true appreciation = joy.

Pushing a compliment off to the side says nothing about the other person’s sincerity and says volumes about how we see ourselves. 

When we negate someone’s compliment it damages the relationship we have with ourselves more than the relationship with the other person. We hear the brush off and we internalize that we are not special, or nice, or pleasant, or good at something. 

It is not prideful to simply say “Thank You.”

Forget what the other person might “really” mean. Forget what may come down the road if you say thank you. You don’t owe anyone anything by saying thank you to a compliment. Just relax and internalize it. Let yourself feel special or smart or creative. Let yourself beam for a few minutes. 

Nobody gets enough positive feedback.

Have you ever watched a documentary about a rock star? They usually show that the star has a manager, and others, who huddle around constantly bragging about them. They are being built up continually. Think of how good life would feel if you had someone telling you all day that you are awesome!

That is not the reality that most of the world will ever live in. 

And we have a human negativity bias which means we cling to the one snarky comment out of 100 praises. What would happen if we did the opposite? What if we allowed ourselves to feel joy when people are nice to us?

The ironic thing about compliments is that when we feel complimented we want to compliment others too. Yes, I mentioned that above, as a reason some people do not like compliments (the obligation of returning one). But we don’t have to compliment the giver. We can say thank you and then later in the day pass along our joy to someone else down the road by complimenting a stranger.

Giving compliments feels as good as getting them.

Writing this– I am going to challenge myself to hand out more compliments this week.

There was a small window of time where I challenged myself to give out random compliments to people throughout the day. I would make a statement about someone’s earrings, or the color of their eyes, or the smell of their cologne. 99% of the time- the person’s face lit up. They became happy for a moment. Upon seeing them happy– I got happy.

It feels good to make other people happy.

It feels good to be noticed.

Luckily we don’t have to wait to feel the joy of compliments. We can start our own campaign to spread them around generously. (Just be sincere). We can do this even if we are down and out, poverty-stricken, in depression, sick, and under the weight of a crisis. Compliments cost us nothing yet have a HUGE payoff.

One way to have more JOY today is– to accept and give out compliments!

Until Next Time~
Blessings, Kate


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