Have you ever noticed the astonishing variety of responses to compliments?

Everything from ignoring it to arguing the person doesn’t mean it and pushing them away. Why is it so hard to receive a compliment Think of a compliment as a piece of “emotional” chocolate and if you like chocolate, don’t push it away.

In fact Sadato found in 2012 that “the same area of the brain affected in this study, the striatum, is activated when a person is rewarded with a compliment or cash.”


Yes, it is a good thing to get a compliment and here are three ways to harness the power of receiving compliments.

1. Be sure to give yourself compliments regularly

Check out your self talk to see if you ever give yourself compliments

It’s possible that you don’t because of the messages that you received growing up that giving yourself compliments leads to being boastful or selfish rather than the idea that giving yourself compliments allows clear thinking about strengths and improvements happening.

And others around you may not have been giving themselves compliments either and not said you were smart and motivated but rather that you were lazy and could do better.

Think about your positive qualities

You can tell how your mind is thinking by listing out your positive qualities (honesty or dedication for example) and then what people have told you about those when you were growing up (not honest enough or wishy washy).

When we have a history of hearing opposites paired together, that pattern can take over and form our self talk.

How to break this pattern?

It’s time to realize that you are not a label of any kind. You are a living breathing person with behaviors, emotions and thoughts that change.

Any label is a snapshot of one frame in a movie. Notice what you are doing that gets you ever closer to your goals and celebrate with a compliment to yourself.

Really mean it! Remember that a compliment is always about the person giving it! At that moment the person was motivated to connect to you with a compliment. Consider that a gift.

Power of compliments_22. When someone gives you a compliment, store it away for a rainy day (an emotional bank account)

When someone says that you have done a good job at work for example, remember what was said and document it for a day when everything seems to be going wrong and you are feeling down on yourself.

Keep a file of these kind words and read them when you need a boost.

Even if the person saying something positive about what a good job you have done is doing so sarcastically, take it as an invitation for you to compliment yourself and mean it.

Store that sincere compliment and warm feeling away for a rainy day.

3. When you get a compliment pass it on by giving another person a compliment (especially when others are not doing that)

Just like that chocolate that tastes good no matter when or where, providing a person with a compliment can act as a pick me up.

A person may be very aware of what is going wrong with what they are saying or doing and your compliment that draws their attention to what is going well can act as a pick me up.

This connection to others can deepen a relationship and mend fences. Compliments that are sincerely meant can be very powerful.

Too much can ruin it

Of course people speaking to each other in only compliments would be troubling.

Why? Think of that special seasoning in a tasty stew. Too much can ruin it. Activating the pleasure circuitry with compliments just makes it easier to deal with important feedback that we can give to ourselves and others.

Adapting behaviors is what we will be asked to do over a lifetime and however we find the mechanism to keep us on track doing that is a good thing. Receiving compliments can give us the power to do just that.

Sometimes the mind may take in a negative comment to heart and negate a compliment. What an odd configuration. It’s time to do the opposite and just like a Teflon non-stick pan let those negative comments just harmlessly drop away.

Harnessing the power of a compliment and taking it to heart can fuel the way we get comfortable in our own bodies and enjoy each day.

Connect with the Expert Dorothy Rodwell

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