There are two struggles when it comes to compliments: How to give them and how to receive them. Even now, some of us are filling with dread at the idea. It’s that dread that I aim to address by changing our perspective on compliments so we can give them just as easily as we receive them.
We give compliments because we notice something that we appreciate, enjoy, or makes us proud that we want to share with the person we observed. Sharing that observation as a compliment is how we share admiration and even love with one another.
We hold ourselves back when we feel like our compliment is something obvious, something they must already know. Even if they do, it’s nice to be reminded that people not only see us but also appreciate us. The kindness of sharing a compliment is more important than crafting a one they haven’t heard.
When we give a compliment we’re giving a gift, something we hope they will enjoy. A compliment is pointing out something that the Giver appreciates about the Receiver. Sound good? Hold onto that idea for the next part: What do you do when you receive a gift?
For millions of people, accepting a compliment is the hard part, but remember, when someone shares a compliment with us, they are sharing their observation about us that they appreciate. We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to make ourselves believe it. We just need to appreciate that they took the time to do something they intended to kind.
The panic that some people feel when receiving a compliment cannot just be dismissed, but when we receive a compliment we shouldn’t be fretting about how to accept it. We should be thanking them for being so kind and giving towards us. What do we do when we receive a compliment? We say “Thank you.”
We can’t let self-doubt trap us in a hole wondering how they can see that in us. Focus on something more positive. They took the time to observe and share that compliment with us because they wanted to be kind to us. Focus on how kind they are and how we appreciate that kindness.
Going back, we can appreciate how hard giving a compliment can be for us. The very least we can do is thank someone for putting themselves through that experience for us.
Here’s an extra tip for coming up with a compliment. Thank them for something. Even if it’s just thanking them for sharing a smile. The act of kindness is more important than the compliment itself.
This is by no means an easy task, but I’m very familiar with supporting people shift from focusing on the compliment to focusing on the person that gifted it to them. If this is something you’d like help with then be sure to sign up for a free session with me as a listener, or send me a question. It’s time to feel free to share a compliment.