We all know how important it is and how good it feels to be validated by other people for what we do. We also know we have the capacity and ability to validate and encourage others to believe in themselves and to keep pursuing their dreams and goals.
If you think something positive, do you say it out loud? Suppose you are bowled over by someone’s creativity, or can’t believe what an incredible idea someone has come up with. Do you share your appreciation? If not, why not? Are you uncomfortable telling people how you feel? If so, discover the power of compliments.
Don’t assume people already know what they do is good or praiseworthy. That’s true even if the other person is a famous artist, creative entrepreneur, or renowned designer. You may tell yourself that they have heard it a hundred times, or are going to think you are presumptuous to give your opinion, but the truth is, compliments are always welcome. Even very successful people crave validation, and while you may focus on all their honors and accolades, they feel the sting of every public barb and criticism. Even if you compliment someone who is uncomfortable receiving praise and he or she brushes off the praise, the important thing is that you were open and honest. Most people will be encouraged, smile and feel happy.
In my experience, a large number of creative doers, talented artists and entrepreneurs don’t know how good they are. Although these people are amazingly accomplished, surprisingly enough, they don’t have a high opinion of their work and say they don’t get much feedback. What amazes me is how grateful these talented people are when you compliment their work and how much they appreciate your positive feedback. Some seem surprised by the interest and compliments; others say the words give them encouragement to continue to pursue their work.
When you validate someone with a compliment, you are recognizing and affirming them. Your words can be the difference that keeps a person from giving up what they are doing or moving forward. Some people may refuse to accept your positive words because praise makes them feel uncomfortable, or because they have never learned to accept compliments, but they may still appreciate your words deep inside.
Not only can your words be the catalyst that keeps someone creating new inventions, amazing art, or heartfelt fiction, they can make all the difference to someone who is just struggling to make it through the day. Does the person in front of you have great shoes, a beautiful outfit, or a cute dog? Tell them! Yours might be the only positive voice they hear all day. You might just change their life, with something as simple as a compliment.
Compliments are free, but they’re amazingly powerful, and they feel good to give. Once you get past your initial shyness, you’ll find that compliments make you feel as good when you give them as it feels to receive them. Once you learn to compliment others, it’s an easy step to begin to encourage yourself and appreciate your own accomplishments.
Try it and see. Once you step outside your comfort zone, you can become your own cheerleader by acknowledging every step you make toward your goals. How long has it been since you told yourself that you’ve done a good job or are good at what you do? Have you told yourself recently that you believe in yourself and your ability to succeed? If not, what’s holding you back? You like compliments, too!
That’s the real power of compliments. As you affirm that others can live their dreams, you are also telling yourself that you can make your dreams come true too!