“Blessed is he who has learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter, and to lead but not manipulate.” ~ William Arthur Ward
Sometimes a word of praise is the only encouragement that is needed. Very rarely do we know the enormity of the struggles people face in their private lives and while we cannot fight their battles for them, we can help them along on their difficult path with some encouraging words. There is incredible value in encouraging people and our words have the potential to brighten up someone’s day. Compliments have the power to do that. Even just the act of noticing is a compliment that you care enough to notice things.
We all yearn for a thank you, you’ve done well or that was awesome. We have a desire to be thought of well and a compliment is likely to give that warm fuzzy feeling and even more so when it comes from those whose authority we respect. Self-doubt can be a downward spiral and people suffering from it can get huge benefits from a simple compliment. Whether at work or at home, compliments can go a long way in making one’s day, they can change attitudes and improve performance more than even money can.
So, why is it easy for some and challenging for others to give compliments? Is it that some people don’t feel they need to, because they don’t feel the need to receive a compliment? Or is it that they feel insecure and have low self-esteem, so they have trouble giving or receiving anything? Is it that some people just don’t see the good in anything and all they see and focus on is on the negative?
Psychologists say that when people are unable to give out compliments, it’s usually because of any of the following reasons:
- Insecurity – You don’t want to give someone an ‘edge’ over you.
- Jealousy/envy – It makes you unable to pay a compliment.
- Depression – When you just can’t see the good in things.
- Self-absorption – You are not able to recognize the positive in others.
When you feel appreciated by a person you want to do more for that person. Interestingly, giving compliments develops our confidence as we feel good about helping other people to feel good. If you want to develop your self-esteem, the fastest way to do it is to help improve someone else’s.
Even as an experiment, this is surely worth a try, because of the ample benefits, mainly:
- It benefits others – Compliments encourage others. Through kind words, we remind people of their value and their talents. All of us want to be noticed, and receiving compliments confirms that we are. They provide confidence, joy and hope.
- It benefits me – When we share happiness, we receive it.
- It benefits my environment – The people around us create the environments in which we live, work, and play. Spreading joy among them by fostering a culture of encouragement challenges others to do the same. Our work environment feels different, as does our home life, and the world around begins to change just a little bit.
We can never underestimate the power of positive words to change our outlook in life. Just a “Don’t lose hope, I believe you can do it,” has the power to keep us going when we are in the midst of a trial. Encouraging words can do wonders to make us work harder instead of thinking about surrender.
Let me share a personal incident that encouraged me hugely and gave me so much confidence. I was waist down paralyzed, laid up in bed for 2 ½ years. I was in touch with my colleagues and we exchanged emails pertaining to my wellbeing. I was pleasantly surprised when my former director sent me a mail asking if I could draft a contract. I made the contract for her and her response was “Bravo, your brain is as sharp as ever”. I was also paid for work. I could not stop smiling for days and this encouraged me further, and I went on to write my first book. Her ‘Bravo’ remains etched in my mind even after 15 years. When I couldn’t even stand on my own, the encouragement was all that was needed to boost my confidence that I could still do so much. So, ask yourself this simple question – Do you bring sunshine or gloom when you enter a room? These beautiful words by Maya Angelou hold true in every situation of life and every profession – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Picture Credit : Brett Jordan on Unsplash