Family Challenge: The Power of Compliments

I grew up with an amazing Mom, forever showering me with compliments. If I’d tried a new eye-shadow, spent extra time on my hair, drew a picture, or played with my little brother: my Mom noticed, and she complimented me constantly. Mom made this so second nature that I in turn continuously complimented her. It wasn’t until I’d moved away to college that both of us realized how rare this was and how much we missed receiving compliments from one another. Even to this day, I miss her compliments.

Why are compliments so few and far between?

Think to when you’ve been complimented and how it made you feel. I will *never* forget recently running to the grocery store and an SUV with two women I didn’t know stopped in the parking lot as I was loading my car. The driver unrolled her window and said, “You. Are. Beautiful. I love what you’ve got going on!” Then she drove away. And it completely and utterly made my day.

There are times I’ve desperately wanted a compliment. After spending hours cleaning my home and cooking an intricate meal for new guests; after getting a new haircut and wearing a pretty dress; I swear I’m practically a beacon beaming some sort of “Compliment me!” light. More often than naught (my amazing husband and mini-me daughter withstanding) it’s to no avail.

I think nice things about others all the time. What I strive to do is to actually say them. Strangers, family, friends, acquaintances: it doesn’t matter. I figure other people probably enjoy compliments too.

I declared the month of July “Compliment Month” to my family of five and challenged everyone (except the 2-year-old) to report back at the dinner table with their compliments. I also tried leading by example. I took my 6-year-old grocery shopping last weekend where she overheard me tell the woman at the deli counter how much I appreciated her smile and friendly attitude. My eldest son saw me stop an older woman at the pharmacy and rave about her amazing haircut. Both women were strangers, and both women rewarded me with the brightest smiles.

My husband, a self-proclaimed introvert, proudly told me he complimented a woman at our son’s day-care on how much he enjoyed hearing her laugh and how our youngest looked forward to seeing her each day. I overheard my son compliment his younger sister on how well she did in martial arts class the night before. I saw my daughter hug her grandmother and tell her she loved how she smelled and that she gave the best hugs. It’s actually infectious, this compliment giving. I find myself doing it so naturally now without having to talk myself into it anymore. If you think something nice about someone, tell them!

I’d love to hear from you for any successful compliments you gave or received. Comment below and tag #TKcomplimentchallenge