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Connections - Wellness Blog

Positivity as a Cycle (What Goes Around Comes Around)

Posted by Taryn Emerson | Posted on May 11, 2018 | See all Connections posts | Latest Wellness Blog posts

How does one cultivate positivity? And have you ever thought about karma or consciously tried to put some good out to the universe? I have! Like when a fellow female is in need of a tampon in the bathroom, if I have a spare I will happily pass it on! Because I know, that one day I will need one and that there will be another person will share there’s and I like to think it’s connected to me sharing my own.

Okay that was probably a bit much even for me and my anecdotes, I’ll jump back on track!

Today’s topic is spreading positivity through giving compliments – and I mean real compliments! Think about the last time you received a compliment. How did it make you feel? If you’re anything like me you think about it for days afterward. You can easily make someone’s day with a good compliment, and it boosts your own mood as well! Talk about a win-win!

When you take the time out of your day to say something nice and thoughtful to someone else, you can reinforce their sense of value and strengthen the relationship you have with them! They make people feel good and they will enjoy being around you for your positive influence! Compliments can enhance your own self-confidence! Because giving a compliment to someone else makes you look for the good in them, and you will also start to look for the good in yourself!

So, how to give a compliment? First step is to give it! Expect nothing in return, I mean hopefully the person responds in some way! But remember you might have taken them by surprise, so be ready for that! And people are naturally skeptical of big claims or generalizations, so paying attention to something small would be your best bet!

It is also really important that compliments not always be about someone’s appearance. Some of the best compliments actually have nothing to do with someone’s looks! This is especially important because most of the time people have little to no control over their appearance, and more often they might feel uncomfortable with being complimented on that alone. Think of character, actions and choices. Not just smile and eye colour!

Understanding the power of empathy is a key part of giving compliments. Try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, and don’t tell them just what you think they want to hear. Tell a person something that you think is genuinely special about them.

Okay, now that I’ve gone on and on about giving compliments, what actually makes up a great compliment? Let’s go through the steps!

Note: I don’t actually expect anyone to follow these one for one before saying something to someone, but I hope to plant the seed in your mind so subconsciously you might do one of these steps!

1. Be Genuine

Above ALL else, the most important part of a compliment is that it be a genuine one! Only praise someone if you think they deserve it! People can always tell if it is a genuine compliment! Have you ever done something really poorly and then had someone tell you had great you were? I sure have and it made me feel worse.

Story time!

In my senior year of high school one of my dearest friends convinced me to audition for the musical with him, and I made it! Fast forward to Saturday night finale of our run, my whole family came to watch the show, great right? So supportive, much love. And in the one dang number that I somehow got put in the front row for (let’s remember I am an athlete, in sport management… not a dancer), my whole family is there and so excited, and I FELL. Mid-number, my character shoes caught in my dress and I stumbled BIG. My loving family then gave me great praise, and told me how well I danced, and that it wasn’t noticeable and all that good stuff. Little they know I felt about six inches tall and didn’t believe them because I was so focused on where I embarrassed myself, and it didn’t feel like I deserved praise. So their kind words bounced off of me. Also, to add to my embarrassment, that was the night it was filmed, so it lives on forever. Yay.

If that story teaches anything other than don’t dance in heels and a long, frilled dress, but don’t try and compliment people on what they themselves might feel like they don’t deserve. It will honestly have more of a negative effect unintentionally.

2. Be Specific

Giving general compliments isn’t a bad thing by any means! But giving a specific one is always better! Think hot chocolate vs hot chocolate with whipped cream on top!

General praise doesn’t mean as much to someone as opposed to a more detailed one! It shows that you have taken a real interest in them. Example:

Good: “I like your style.”
Better: “That’s such a cool ring you are wearing! It really complements your whole style.”

3. Be Unique

Yes this is related to be specific, but it goes just a touch deeper! The most prominent feature of someone’s is probably their most likely compliment, like someone’s smile or their eyes. Again, this takes a real attention to detail, but if you’re gonna say something, make it worthwhile right?

Good: “You have beautiful eyes.”
Better: “That bracelet you’re wearing matches your eyes perfectly! Did you do that on purpose?”

4. Acknowledge Their Effort

It’s a pretty good bet that what you plan on complimenting someone on took effort on their part. So compliment with that in mind! Show your appreciation for what goes on behind the scenes!

Good: “I like your artwork.”
Better: “I like your artwork. You’re clearly a very creative person.”

5. Describe the Effect Something Has on You

While praise is generally about the other person, they must have done something and had an effect on you for you to notice. Especially with people who create, like writers, artists or musicians! Let them know if and how they positively affected you.

Good: “You are a great writer.”
Better: “Your writing really inspired me. Because of what you wrote, I’m going to start exercising again.”

6. Don’t be Backhanded

Seems obvious right? I know, but it’s an important step. Sometimes a compliment that can negatively interpreted will make someone feel worse about themselves! These kind of compliments usually involve making a negative comparison.

Bad: “Nice nails, are they real?”
Good: “I love your nails, they look really classy”

Another backhanded compliment is the implication that it’s out of the norm for them or you. It can just the difference of one word.

Bad: “Wow, you look really good today!”
Good: “Wow you look really good!”
Implies this person might not good everyday.

Bad: “I actually really like your glasses!”
Good: “I really like your glasses!”
Implies you thought you initially wouldn’t like them.

Super small differences can be the change between positive and negative impacts! Just be mindful, as you won’t mean something bad, but the person could interpret it that way.

Now that you’ve stuck around to the end, go forth! Spread positivity like I spread cream cheese! Put out that good into the universe and it will come back to you, you will become a positivity magnet!

I can live for two months on a good compliment, (Mark Twain)


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