Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary defines compliment as this:
a. an expression of esteem, respect, affection, or admiration.
b. Formal and respectful recognition: HONOR
I, like a lot of women, have a harder time accepting a compliment than giving one.
I try to encourage my kids by giving compliments.
To Nick, my first grader: “Good job reading, Nick. You are really doing a great job!”
To Keira, my fifth grader: “Keira, I was listening while you played your violin today. You sound really good!” (Keira plays her violin up in her room with the door closed so no one can hear her.)
To Alex, my 3YO: "Alex, good job picking up your toys today!”
I try to give compliments to my friends.
“Thanks for that recipe! I tried it and it was great!”
“Your hair looks great! Did you get it cut differently?”
“That is a great shirt! It really brings out the color of your eyes.”
What I have found when it comes to compliments is that kids are great at accepting them. Adults, especially women, aren’t so great.
Compliment: “That is a great blouse.”
Reply: “This old thing? It is just something I threw on. I’ve had it for years.”
Compliment: “I love those pants you have on. They fit you great!”
Reply: “Thanks. They are the only pair I have that fit me right now. I’ve gained so much weight.”
Compliment: "Your hair looks great! Did you do something different?"
Reply: "Yeah, I washed it." :)
Why do we do that? Why can’t we just accept the compliment and feel good – even for just a minute - instead of replying with something negative? Don’t we realize that we make the other person feel bad too?
My kids would never reply negatively to a genuine compliment.
Nick would never say, “Thanks, Mom, but I really need to work on learning my sight word lists.”
Alex would never say, “Thanks, Mom. But I still need to pick those toys up.”
Keira would never say, “Thanks, Mom. If only I could get that one song perfected, I’d be happier.” (Okay, so she might actually say that. She is a girl, after all.)
With all the negative stuff coming at us every day (have you watched the news lately? Yikes!), wouldn’t it be better if we focused more on the positive? Wouldn’t we all be happier people if we spent more time complimenting and less time complaining?
So my challenge to myself (and to you) is to compliment genuinely and generously. I don’t think people ever tire of hearing a compliment. And if they do, find out why! Maybe they need more compliments in their life too! And you might be just the person to help them.
Also I will try to do my best to be graciously accepting of a compliment given to me. I will try to squash that negative self-talk immediately. After all, compliments make both the receiver and the giver feel good.
Until next time … God bless!