I’m not very good at taking compliments, but I am getting better. They can make me uncomfortable, but I am slowly learning to use them as building blocks to deter self doubt.
I am good at issuing them and I do so whenever I feel it is deserved. I do not flatter or brown nose. You will find nothing but sincerity in my words.
In case you were wondering, my sincerity was born from years of surrounding myself with negative and insincere “friends” in my early twenties. Those folks taught me hard lessons that led me to build an amazing army of sincere friends over the last decade. I can smell incinserity from an individual right off the bat and I stay far away from it. People like that will never be given the key to my circle.
I’ve noticed through adulthood and through reflection of my childhood, that we as people tend to focus on what could go wrong, rather than what could go right.
We focus on the mistakes of others and are quick to point them out, but our insecurity doesn’t allow for us to compliment them when they are doing right – especially if they are performing better than us.
My dad always told me, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” He was absolutely correct and because of that I have always sought out wiser and more experienced individuals when seeking to better myself. If I show admiration, ask advice, and bombard you with questions, that in itself is an unspoken compliment.
That idea doesn’t just apply to intelligence, but also to day to day living.
Everyone I know has strengths and weaknesses. I find that most people don’t need to be reminded of their weaknesses. They’re aware whether they voice it or not. I only address weakness when asked for advice or when it directly impacts my life. With the former I always try to be encouraging rather than demeaning. I can be tough, but my focus is always to improve the situation.
I find most people don’t recognize their own strengths.
I make a conscious effort to point it out when I see something awesome or someone doing awesome things. Life is too short to be critical out of pride.
I’ve had those days where one single compliment has completely renewed my motivation.
On the flip side of the coin, I am very careful with personal criticism that isn’t constructive. I find it to be useless negativity designed to make one feel better about themselves rather than solve a problem.
Does Sally Mae really need to know that her house is a disaster? No. Sally Mae already knows that. What she may not know is that the pie she’s making is the best pie you’ve ever had. Push the clothes and toys off the couch (better yet, help her clean up) and tell her.
At the end of the day we all experience self doubt. Compliments from others when we are doing things right are invaluable motivators that lead to our success.
We should all want success for those around us, whether it’s a job, life, or anything in between. We can accomplish that by building each other up, rather than tearing each other apart. It’s a conscious choice. Which will you make?