I found the topic for today really difficult. The prompt was to discuss a recent compliment, or one that you have been given that has stuck with you. I really couldn't think of any that I have been given recently or even any that I have given out recently, apart from telling my friend how lovely she looked in a dress she was trying on for my daughter's christening. So it got me thinking, do we compliment each other enough? Do we acknowledge compliments when they are given to us? What is the purpose of a compliment?
My challenge to you is to sit down for five minutes and try and list the last five compliments you paid to someone......hard isn't it? I know in my life that I have family and friends that I love dearly and appreciate all that they do for me, but do I ever compliment on them? As a teacher, I give lots of compliments to my students, I try to find the positive in every piece of work they complete, but do I do this in my personal life? Did I compliment my husband the last time he baked his wonderful pastry? Did I compliment my Mum on her beautiful knitting skills when she gave us many knitted clothes for our baby girl? No. Why? Because I'm selfish or arrogant, feel awkward about saying this out loud? I believe it is because we take it all for granted. I take it for granted that my husband knows he can bake pastry well and my Mum can knit fantastic clothing-what would the benefit of telling them be? Well, perhaps they would like to know I appreciate their skills, that I acknowledge how much time and effort has been spent on whatever the final result may be. Would it boost their self-esteem? Would it make them smile? Is that not worth it in itself? This isn't the case all of the time of course. I often compliment how someone looks or a specific talent such as a great voice/dancer. These things seem to lend themselves to compliments but maybe we should consider the smaller things in life and those hidden talents we often miss.
It also got me thinking to whether we can always accept compliments. I find it really difficult to accept nice things being said about me to my face. I have no idea why this is, I often think that the person is not being sincere or I get really embarrassed. Isn't it nice to hear nice things about you? Isn't it nice to receive a compliment? Of course it is! It is always lovely to hear that the cake you last baked tasted lovely or that you look beautiful today, but are we sometimes too modest and find these kind of compliments hard to take? Is this a British thing, a girl thing or just a 'me' thing? Lol! Who knows! Perhaps we should be more open to receiving compliments, for receiving help and allowing others to praise us-not in an arrogant way but in a way that we feel appreciated in all aspects of our life.
The dictionary definition of a compliment is: 'a remark that expresses approval or respect.' Do we show enough respect to each other? Are we always seeking approval in society? I know I often am without even thinking about it. But what happens if we are seeking approval and we don't receive it? For me it often leads to a hit to my confidence or self-esteem. You would think that in 2014 we might be more independent of each other, that this wouldn't matter, and it may not to some. For me, it's important what other people think of me, I want to be respected and I don't want to feel like an outsider. Is it important to you?
Writing this post has made me question all of these things and made me want to make a few changes. Firstly, I am going to try and pay a compliment to at least one person a day. Secondly, I am going to try and accept what people compliment me on and not question it. And finally, I will seek to respect myself and others but not always worry so much about what others may think.
This is quite a philosophical post but I hope it has been interesting and made you question your own experience with compliments! I will try not to be as deep and gloomy tomorrow (lol) but would love to hear your thoughts.