A compliment from the heart is a lovely gift to give or receive. It connects us with other people in a warm way, it spreads joy and lifts our spirits better than a fresh cup of latte. While all kind words are welcome, some compliments are even more uplifting than others, and those are the ones that are:
- Honest: when you say something that’s true and authentic, like “You make me feel good whenever I see you.”
- Genuine and specific: like “That necklace captures the color of your eyes beautifully” or “I really like the way you handled that tough customer.” These resonate because we feel the sincerity of the compliment-giver.
Some of the compliments I’ll always treasure were like the above: “You hair makes you look like an angel,” “That song you just sang gave me goosebumps,” “You have courage to speak out with your beliefs, and I admire that,” and “I can always count on you to do what you say you’ll do.” These compliments warm me because I feel some personal truth as well as kindness. Other favorites are from people we love dearly. I still blush when I say to Sandy, “I’ve got to go get beautiful (to go out)” and he unfailingly replies “You’re already beautiful.” That may not be true, but he says it with feeling.
There’s some controversy going around the Internets about telling a woman she’s “pretty” or “beautiful”. (Sandy always gets a pass because he means it from the heart.) Many women have told me, or written, that they don’t care for being told they’re “pretty” because they want to be seen as so much more than their outer selves. Do you agree?
A much younger woman than I wrote it like this:
“Don’t tell me I’m beautiful. I mean, I’ll probably like it. I’ll probably like any compliment. But whether I’m beautiful or not, my beauty is not the core of my identity. It’d be like telling someone they’re “punctual”. Sure, it’s positive, but… is that really the best trait you could think of?”
Here is how I try to offer compliments:
- Look someone in the eye and tell them how much they have helped you, or your family, or your cause.
- Tell someone “There’s something special about you” and then say what it is. “Your writing is so moving.” “You put an outfit together like a NYC Fashion Editor.” “I love talking with you; you’re so encouraging.”
- Make it specific to the moment: “That photo captures your vibrant personality.”
- With a little humor, the loving kind: ” My IQ goes up the minute you walk in the room.”
How do you prefer to receive and give compliments? xo
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