They may not put food on your table, but compliments will put joy in your heart and can be just as beneficial to your brain as a cash reward.
The beauty of this psychological reward is that it gives as much to the giver as to the receiver.
Perhaps there has never been a time the world needed kind words and the acknowledgement of good more.
Compliments are little bundles of kind words, wrapped up especially as gifts from the heart.
They can literally change the course of a person’s day – or life.
COMPLIMENTS AS GOOD AS CASH
I’ve known people to give up perfectly good jobs because they felt their hard work was not being acknowledged, even when they achieved bonuses for reaching certain targets.
A few kind words in the form of praise that recognised their work could have made all the difference.
Research shows that compliments have a similar effect on improved performance as receiving monetary rewards.
According to Professor Norihiro Sadato, a professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, people perform better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise.
To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money.
Professor Norihiro Sadato
This comes as no surprise to me. Compliments increase our confidence and make us happy.
CREATE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS – AND SOMEONE’S ELSE’S WITH A COMPLIMENT
While I’m a big believer in creating our own happiness and not relying on others for validation,(read When You’re Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places) I have to acknowledge how good I feel when I receive an expression of admiration.
An equally good feeling, maybe even better, is when I see the power I have to spread joy by giving a simple compliment.
Giving praise is as much a gift to the giver as it is to the receiver.
When we give a compliment, we are focusing on the good in someone else. We are focusing on the positive, which in turn makes us feel more positive. By focusing on that good, we are in fact promoting it and encouraging more good.
Compliments speak volumes about the generosity and confidence of the giver.
It is often the people who lack confidence and are constantly comparing themselves to others who are unable to give sincere compliments when they are warranted.
WHEN COMPLIMENTS ARE NO GOOD
There is an instance when we should avoid giving compliments. That’s when we are unable to come up with sincere words. Fake compliments can be more hurtful than no words at all.
While it’s always lovely to receive a compliment on your appearance or something you have, the most remarkable compliments recognise who you are and your contributions in life.
My favourite compliments are the indirect ones.
I remember shopping with a friend several years ago and she asked my opinion about buying some drinking glasses for another friend she described as ‘fun and colourful and full of life”. Then came my surprise and delight a few months later when I opened those glasses as a Christmas present from my friend – a gift within a gift.
Then there are the beautiful compliments that show such generosity of spirit when a person happily repeats to you a lovely thing someone else has said in your favour.
My mother refers to these as Trade Last compliments.
She described a game she’d play with her own mother where one of them would say; “I have a TL (trade last) for you”.
It meant they had heard something lovely about the other person but wouldn’t share until that person came up with a compliment for them.
COMPLIMENTS FOR EVERYONE
I didn’t play that game with my mother, but I do remember her teaching me to find something good in everyone and to speak out about it once I’d found it.
It’s not necessary to reserve compliments for friends and family.
We can spread the joy by finding good things to comment on with strangers too.
When I’m at the grocery store I usually try to strike up a conversation with the checkout staff.
I’ll ask about how busy they’ve been, or how many more hours of work they have left.
This little snippet of conversation often gives me an opening for a compliment. I might commiserate with them about being on their feet for so long, then express admiration at their happy demeanour after dealing with so many shoppers.
These little nuggets of love can help people feel validated and valued.
They are affirmations that inspire us to keep going and do even better.
Do you love giving compliments?
Wishing you many opportunities to give and receive compliments, and a gleeful week, Tamuria.