Abraham Lincoln said, “Everybody likes a compliment.” But when is the last time you offered a compliment to someone?
We often express gratitude or thanks for a job well done, but when do we compliment people for who they really are?
During the holiday season (or really at any time of year), compliments can be a great way to combat the stress or overwhelm you might experience.
What's the research say about compliments? It turns out, not surprisingly, that compliments are quite beneficial.
One researcher found that compliments help improve work performance in the same way as receiving a cash reward. Other research shows that accepting compliments helps boost self-esteem both for you and the person giving the compliment, especially if it is someone you love.
The Challenge of Giving a Good Compliment
The art of giving compliments can be complex, especially when it comes to giving genuine compliments.
You can start by simply noticing people and paying more attention to the details. See what happens when you look at people through a lens of wanting to give them a compliment. Instead of thinking about how someone’s voice might sound annoying or how their outfit might look, use fresh eyes to see what you really like about them.
It doesn't have to be big. Compliments can be small, such as complimenting a friend on the color of his shirt or sending a text to a loved one about how much you love her laugh.
"Meaningful compliments come in all shapes and sizes," writes Christie Matheson in her book The Art of Compliment. "They don't have to be grand and sweeping; more often, they are straightforward and related to some element of everyday life."
The practice of giving compliments can help you connect with more people, too. It might be scary to approach strangers, but it can become more natural with time.
Think about all the people you may interact with on a daily basis from your coworkers to the grocery clerk to others walking down the street. What if you gave each of them a small compliment?
You can choose to see compliments as little gifts that you offer people with no agenda and no expectation of a return. As you give more compliments, you may even notice your own tolerance for receiving compliments increase.
Benefits of Compliments
Not only do they feel good, but compliments also:
- Help us push past our social comfort zone
- Bring people closer together
- Increase the likelihood of people being kinder to you
- Help us see the good in others
- Boost confidence and self-esteem of ourselves and others
Take the Compliment Challenge
Are you ready to take the Compliment Challenge? Starting today, and continuing for 5 days, offer a genuine compliment to 10 people each day and see what happens. Of course you can offer more than 10 a day and do it for more than 5 days, if you'd like.
We know you can do it, because you're a kind and thoughtful person. And there's our first compliment!
© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies