Give Compliments That Matter

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all again, and this time, we might even get it right.

From now on Monday’s are for making the changes we want to see in ourselves, and for thinking about the changes we want to see in the world. Monday’s are our new favorite days!

As for me, this Monday has been off to a rough start. I went to bed late last night and failed to get anything ready for this morning, so I struggled. I lost important papers, I had to wait for clothes to dry, and I forgot to set my “5-minute” warning alarm and left the house a little late too. I’m doing my best to remember that the day is far from over and that it’s never too late to reset my mind and mood. I plan to take a walk, then eat lunch, and forget all about the shitty morning.

caroline1_1280v2
Caroline Caldwell

I came across the above image on Tumblr last night, and I fell in love with it. It took a while but I finally the source, the artist, and an Upworthy story to elaborate on the artist’s motivations.

Apparently, Caroline Caldwell “decided that people needed some ideas for how to compliment each other on things besides looks and physical appearance.” So, in collaboration with Van Nguyen, she created a public art piece to remind us all that there is more that can be, good about a person that what is on the outside.

I’m not very good about giving compliments. I didn’t exactly grow up in an environment where people said nice things about each other. Giving and receiving compliments makes me feel very anxious, uncomfortable, and sometimes, pretty panicky. Looking around and listening to the way people talk to each other and interact I get the feeling I’m not alone in this.

Complimenting someone makes us emotionally vulnerable. We fear either our compliment will fall flat or be rejected, or that it will be misinterpreted. We are afraid to give away our feelings for another person when we aren’t sure that the other person feels something of equal value for us. We don’t want to care too much. We don’t want to get attached. We don’t want to open our hearts, not even the tiny bit it takes to show someone we see something good in them and to thank them for bringing that good into our lives.

It’s a shame we’ve all become so bottled up and afraid. Life shouldn’t be like this. I should be able to say nice things and have nice things said about me without it being a big deal. None of us should ever feel unsure about what it is our loved ones love about us, and no one we love should feel insecure or unsure how much or why we love them too.

This goes for everyone in your life. Tell your mom why she’s great. Tell your sister what she means to you. Tell your wife what she does that keeps you coming back. Tell your kids why you are proud of them. Tell your friends why you choose them. Tell your coworkers how they brighten your day. Tell everyone you think something good about what that good thing is.

The catch? Do your best to make those compliments about something much, much more than looks and appearance.

Yeah we all like to look good, and we want people to notice and tell us when we do, but I’ve noticed that when people are comfortable giving or receiving compliments it is nearly always about what we look like on the outside. Those compliments are too easy. Let’s dig a little deeper this week okay?

If complimenting doesn’t come easily to you, give yourself permission to fudge it up a few times in the name of practice and progress. It will benefit you in the end, yes. Your relationships will become stronger, and people will feel comfortable to open themselves up to you too but remember you aren’t really doing this for yourself. You are doing this so to make others feel better. You are doing it because it makes this world a happier and healthier place to live in.

If enough of us resolve to be a little nicer and let ourselves be a little more vulnerable every week, we could get very far in a very short time.

***

 

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Featured image via Unsplash

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Published by

Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

One thought on “Give Compliments That Matter”

  1. This is a beautiful message. I like compliments, giving and receiving. A simple “That’s a nice shirt” or “Thanks for holding the door” can delight my day, and I hope someone else’s.
    Diana

    Like

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