Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Art of the Compliment

There's nothing like getting a compliment first thing in the morning. Using compliments to spread God's love is something I've been consciously attempting to do each and every day. It's hard to do when I'm sitting at my desk, but when I'm up at the front desk, I see hundreds of people every day. Today, my compliment was "You always look so fly" to one of the women here at the Hotline. Because let's face it, she be lookin so good (lol).

Compliments are little gifts of love. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. They are powerful gifts. But compliments work only if they are sincere reflections of what we think and if they are given freely and not coerced. Compliments backfire if they are not genuine. And faux flattery is usually highly transparent. A false compliment makes the speaker untrustworthy; it raises suspicions about motives. And that can undermine a whole relationship. -Psychology Today; The Art of the Compliment

I find that a lot of the things people say are fueled by an underlying motive to attain selfish ends to the mean. A man might say to a woman, "That dress looks great!" while all he can really think about is how much better it'd look on the floor. A woman might say to another woman, "I love your jeans!" when all she can really think about is how jealous she is that she wouldn't look as good in them. The concept of giving a genuine compliment is far from our prefrontal, not-so-discrete cortex. You're a window, and we see right through you! We need to stop using compliments to portray an insincere or hallow attempt at praise and admire things about those around us that are truly worthy of praise.

Compliments need to be purposeful and specific. They don't serve the same purpose when they're accidental (...awkward!!) and simple. "Everyone here is friendly" is not as personal as reaching out to someone and saying, "You are just so friendly". We need to get on a different level with the people we walk by everyday, whether we know them or not. We should want to want to see them smile. We should also consciously desire to recognize those small changes and improvements in our friends and family. Who better to compliment and acknowledge than the millions that He loves?

This morning, Kelly and Zhao from the professional/political firm that advocates for the Hotline came up to me to compliment my new glasses and eye makeup. It was strange that they would notice those kinds of things because I hardly ever see them, and hadn't seen them for a few weeks. We have over 300 people who work here, but the compliment slid over me like a warm blanket. It was so personal. So genuine.

I once heard that the likelihood of a person committing suicide decreases significantly if someone else takes notice of them during the time that suicide is being highly considered. It makes sense! If you'd have only stayed a minute longer to hold the door for the person behind you, or taken the time to really pick your head up and say "hello" to someone when you pass them in the hallway at work, I think we'd find that we would all be a little happier. The person on the receiving end of the compliment feels wholeheartedly acknowledged; recognized- and they'll keep improving. The person giving the compliment revels in the idea of spreading His adoration for human kindness. And the more often you give them, the more often you receive them. Everyone wants to pay the compliment forward, and we end up with a continuous flow of genuine love. 

A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Proverbs 26:28

Don't be shy or disingenuous in your compliments. We have an opportunity to start loving our brothers and sisters with a different perspective! Rather, keep your compliment skills fresh and new. People want to be noticed; christian and non-christian alike. Start opening your eyes to the beauty He's created, and use a discerning tongue to help guide a new style. It only takes 21 days to create a habit. Get into the habit of making those around feel good. You'll be glad that you did.


Anonymous said...

I think you are, and always have been a beautiful woman. I don't think you need make up to look better as you look perfect without it.
I'm glad you had an amazing day at work.

Cara-Marie said...

Compliments! I love them!! That is...I love giving them. I've learned that compliments are so misconstrued in the minds of the masses that people are even wary of genuine compliments because they're not used to it! Smh. Society needs a face lift. We literally need to lift our face to the heavens and see God.
On the topic of compliments that when you feel good about yourself you want others to feel good about themselves as well. Its that whole deal with projection. If we are overly critical with ourselves we tend to be critical over others. Love and spread the love.
Brilliant post my dear!!