The age-old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all” may be following trend and earning a shorter, catchier, phrase. “Find something nice to say.” One of the easiest, cheapest, least time consuming ways to contribute to your community of humans is to pay them a compliment. Taking a moment to pause long enough to recognize something you admire, appreciate, feel inspired by and share it with that person can have an astronomical affect on them. It can change their attitude in the moment, improve their performance through out the day, give them the stamina to get through the week and the courage to set and achieve higher goals.
Paying compliments has not always been a practice that I implemented often. I used to feel like it was fake or superficial or even condescending depending on the person. With age comes wisdom. As I have grown older I am noticing how narrow minded I have been on this subject. Especially when it comes to my kids. Now I’m not talking about over-praising them or being unbalanced in only saying nice things to them. I’m talking about paying compliments where they are due and when they have been earned. My second oldest has always had a hard time deciding to tell the truth, opening up and being forthcoming with information. We have spent years working on this in therapy and implemented several tools to help him in this area. It is important that I acknowledge him when he works past his inner self and is able to come to me with something that is difficult and handles it in a mature and respectful way. I can see his face light up and the weight lift off his shoulders when I say “I am so proud of you for telling me this and for choosing your words wisely, you did a really good job, thank you.” Now this doesn’t mean that some tough words of correction, consequences or guidance doesn’t follow that statement… but whatever comes next he is more open to hearing it and more likely to handle himself this way again in the future. Some other good examples can be found here.
When it comes to friends, co-workers and new faces you may come across on your daily path… new research has shown that a compliment is processed in our brains to equal that of a monetary compensation! Isn’t that interesting? That means, in theory, that you can make someone feel like they got a bonus or a raise just by saying something nice! Lets dig just a little deeper. Part of the reason I always had a bad taste in my mouth about compliments is that they seemed to always be about the way I looked or what I was wearing… although it’s nice to feel pretty and well dressed… it’s just as important, if not more, to have my efforts and my work acknowledged. The same goes for those around me. Taking time to witness someone’s efforts is so much more meaningful.
Last on the list of awesome benefits of being nice… what goes around comes around! Paying compliments to others can actually improve your mood too! How cool is that?! We are making friends, building relationships, changing the outcome of the days and weeks to come, AND we are having a positive chemical effect on ourselves. What it all boils down to is compliments cost you nothing, pays an immeasurable amount of wealth to our community and lightens our own load. Seems like a no brainer to me! So get out there and FIND SOMETHING NICE TO SAY!