This week we’re talking about giving compliments. The how-to, that is! I read in the Art of Manliness article that to overcome our negative and egocentric biases, we need to harness our inner Sherlock Holmes by observing more frequently and more keenly.
Nicely put, because sometimes I am truly more focused on my problems, the world as I see it to notice other people having a new haircut, new outfit or whatever. I don’t consider myself a selfish person, but I realize I do focus more on my shortcomings and worry about other people’s opinions of them, than I do on complimenting others and looking for good things. While I don’t go around criticizing people to their faces, I also don’t make a point of handing out compliments on a daily basis either. Somewhere between these two things is where I want to be.
So to begin, start on small stuff. Just this morning I was getting out of the car and the student in the next car had on one of those really cute knitted hats, the kind that has ear flaps, was pink and had big eyes on the top! Normally I would have thought to myself, how cute and giggled. But this morning, working on my Encouraging Words, I actually spoke up and told her she had on a really cute hat!
She smiled shyly and muttered, “Thanks!”
Sure my compliment was a really small thing, but it was a start! The thing about compliments is they have to be sincere. If you roll your eyes while complimenting someone’s clothing, they may get the idea you are making fun of them. I remember those teen years too much, but it happened a lot then. Nice “Peace” t-shirt, Lisa” giggle, snort. Those kinds of compliments we DON’T need these days. But one that really makes another person feel good about something they’ve chosen to wear is a winner.
The other thing about compliments is it helps if they are specific. Instead of saying, “You look nice today.” It helps more to say, “Wow, that purple color looks really good on you!” or “That sweater really brings the blue out in your eyes!” help the compliment-getter to know you are really paying attention.
So give it a try this week and see how it goes! Don’t over do it, you might get too giddy from all the adrenaline! But try giving out a compliment a day if you can. See how it makes the other person look and feel, and how it gets you out of your self focused rut! Good luck!