Complimenting others is good for you too

Complimenting Others is Good for You Too

Don’t you love getting compliments from absolute strangers? 

You know, the “Wow, great coat!”  Or the “Those shoes are amazing…can I ask where you got them?”  It usually happens quickly, as someone is passing by, and you rarely end up seeing that person again.  Regardless, it creates a major feel-good moment.

There’s something special about compliments from a stranger.  Maybe it’s more believable coming from someone you don’t know – why else would they be saying it?  It can also serve as a real boost to your self-esteem, often reassuring a choice you’ve made.  The fact is though – you’re on the receiving end of an act of kindness.  And that creates a multitude of benefits for your mental and physical health.

Why don’t I just say out loud the nice things I’m thinking?

You’ll be surprised how often positive thoughts cross your mind when you start to pay attention.  It happens to me all the time.  When I’m walking down the street, I’ll see someone wearing something that looks amazing.  Or I’ll take a flight and the kids in front of me will have been well-behaved the entire time.  This fleeting commentary in your head can be put to good use. 

I decided to start verbalizing compliments when I first moved to New York.  To be honest, I probably started because I was lonely.  I had just moved to the city and was spending a lot of time alone.  Craving some interaction, I began to say the positive things that popped into my head.  I figured it would be a nice way to make people smile and create a momentary connection.  What surprised me, though, were the benefits I felt.

Complimenting others makes me happier.

It never fails, every time I say something, I get a positive response.  Don’t get me wrong – the responses vary.  Not everyone immediately gives me a big smile and thank you.  Some are startled – surprised I am addressing them, but once they understand what is happening, the smile comes. I can honestly say I have had 100% positive responses when I have done this.  That’s pretty spectacular.  And that makes me happy.

Positive thinking leads to more positive thinking.

It’s basic psychology.  A positive thought about someone comes to mind.  I act on that thought – telling the person.  They reward me with positive reinforcement – a smile, a thank you.  I crave the reward, so I’m incentivized to share more positive thoughts, so the thoughts keep coming to mind.    A circle of positivity is created.

Complimenting others shifts the focus to others.

If I’m spending my time thinking of nice things to say to other people, it means that I’m not thinking about myself.  And, that’s a good thing. 

A small effort can lead to big rewards.

Making a small effort to compliment others can make a big impact, both on others and you.  So, give it a try.  Try saying one nice thing today and see what happens.  I’m betting it’ll make your day.

Did you try complimenting a stranger?  How did it go?

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