By Loraine Debnam
I received a lovely compliment the other day and since it came from a person whose opinion I value, to me it felt like getting a hug from the inside out.
I am sure she had no idea of the profound impact her comment made but I held it close for the rest of the day.
A compliment, my dictionary says, is a statement of praise, congratulations, encouragement or respect. There have been many books and articles written about the best way to honour or express a favourable opinion in a way that is sincere and non-judgmental without using flattery. They all put sincerity at the forefront. Artificial or exaggerated comments may be viewed as patronizing or even insulting.
It is especially important, counsellors say — in parenting, education and management — praise is not about the people but about what they do that someone else admires.
It is, however, also essential the accomplishment being commented upon is significant to the recipient.
Apparently, it’s important we indicate to the other person we celebrate their efforts and success when they have endeavoured to go one step beyond.
Writers recommend the use of “you” messages, which are personal observations rather than “I” messages, which can be perceived as judgments.
They feel remarks such as “I am so proud of you” are less empowering than, “you should be so proud of yourself.”
Even though most of the reading I’ve done is focused on kids or co-workers, we all need encouragement.
It allows us to become more self-motivated and independent and it builds our self-esteem.
For me, it indicates someone is paying attention to what is happening in my life and is involved in the things I do. Although I do not require the approval of others to be happy and peaceful, it’s pleasing to know there are others who are aware of what I attempt to do and they think I am on the right track.
Author Samuel Taylor Coleridge puts it this way, “happiness in life is made up of minute fractions… a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment.”
Personally, I would add a hug to that list. In my opinion, those are good actions for both parties involved — any or all can transform your day. They are like a beautifully wrapped gift you can savour.
I believe we all have personal power — that we are works in progress and nothing is random.
We should nurture joy in ourselves and in others. Actually, it is a measure of how well we treat ourselves that is revealed in how well we treat others.
If we search for opportunities to share the radiance of the day, we can show others they are accepted and loved for who they are.
Motivational speaker Tanis Halliwell suggests we try to see with our hearts what it is someone else needs and if we have it, we should give it and that certainly applies to positive affirmations. It shows a generosity of spirit to which we can all aspire.