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The Power of the Compliment

Recently, we’ve noticed a trend. We don’t think this is a new thing. In fact, we think this is something that has been going on for quite some time, but when we say “recently”, we mean we’ve been paying more attention as of late.

Picture this: two people are having a conversation. Person A says “Wow, you look great!” and Person B says “Really? I’ve feel like I’ve put on some weight.” Or this: Person A says “I love your shirt!” and Person B says “Oh this? It’s nothing special. I got it at a thrift store for like $3.”

Do you notice anything? If not, we’ll fill you in. Person A is trying to compliment Person B, and instead of graciously accepting the compliment (and maybe even giving one back), Person B almost fights the compliment and then proceeds to try to negate whatever it is that Person A said. So what’s so wrong with that? We’ll try to keep it short.

Compliments may seem like little things, but they are actually huge. Research shows that compliments have the power to increase positivity, both for the giver and the receiver, boost productivity, and increase awareness of the good around you. When you accept a compliment, with a simple “thank you so much”, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to feel these things. When you reject a compliment, you’re subconsciously reinforcing a belief that you’re unworthy of the praise. It can also create an awkward social situation, but that’s a story for a different day.

The best way to receive a compliment is with a “thank you” and a smile. If you have a genuine compliment to give in return, that’s even better, but try not to give a compliment unless it’s authentic (hint: we believe there’s always something you can find to compliment authentically).

We leave you with this challenge. The next time someone pays you a compliment, resist the urge to negate the compliment or explain it away. Instead, respond to the compliment with a simple “thank you”. This will probably take some getting used to at first. You may even have to stop yourself from responding in a negative way at first, but the more you practice, the easier it will become.