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Changing The Compliment Conversation

09 May Posted by in Motivational Speaker | Comments

I received a compliment this morning that rocked my world. My friend told me that knowing me has brought her closer to God.   That my actions have brought Him glory – and I have become (in rare moments, I am sure) the hands and feet of God. This is a BIG compliment to me. In fact – the biggest thing I want to be known for. And, believe it or not, this post is not about God. This is about how we compliment each other. Because I think there is a big disconnect in what we truly value, and what our compliments indicate we value.

We value kindness – but we compliment each other on our clothes. We value humility – but we ooh and aah over each other’s possessions. We speak of loving for who we are – and compliment each other on the size we have reached. We admire hard work, and praise people for their beauty.  We say that it’s the thought that counts – and compliment the best gift. We say that our actions define us – and gush over someone’s spotless house. We say that we value all people – and then compliment someone on how young they look. We say that everyone matters – and compliment those that everyone knows.

It’s no wonder that our girls are growing up thinking that their worth is tied into their size or their beauty. It’s no wonder that our kids learn that possessions are an indication of achievement. It’s no wonder that health isn’t the objective, being skinny is. It’s no wonder that old people feel invisible.  It’s no wonder that most of us walk around in a constant state of feeling less than – of wanting what we don’t have – of wishing for something over the rainbow.

And so today, I am issuing a challenge – starting with myself. I challenge myself to compliment people on what I truly value. I challenge myself to change the compliment conversation.  Starting with the way I compliment myself.

 

The old way: Self, you are looking horrible today. That haircut is so eighties. Your makeup looks like you fell into a paint bucket. And those pants make you look like your thighs are in a wrestling match. Don’t leave the house.

The new way: Self, look at you. You rock! You set a goal today and reached it. You made someone feel good. Wow. Imagine what that’s doing for them right now. You stopped and appreciated how pretty the flowers are outside the grocery store. Pat yourself on the back – today was another day well lived.
 

The old way:  Wow! Terry, you look fantastic!!!! You must be a size two!!! Congratulations!!! You will be hot in those new pants!

My new way:  Wow! Terry, you have lost a TON of weight! I am so proud of you for creating a goal and sticking to it. You must be so proud of your own persistence and dedication. You are truly an example of hard work and I admire you.

 
The old way: Oh, Sarah, you are so pretty! Why I’d bet you are the prettiest girl in third grade! I am so proud of you. 

The new way: Oh, Sarah, you are such a kind loving little child. I so appreciate how you shared your favorite cookies, and you didn’t even have to. Your kind and giving spirit really  makes you beautiful.

 

The old way:  Congratulations Barry for coming in first in the race! 

The new way: Congratulations Barry for showing me what hard work looks like. I really admire how hard you worked to get here, and what sacrifices you made to reach a dream. (Same thing if Barry came in last.) 

 

This is going to be a hard thing for me – changing the compliment conversation. Because I LOVE to compliment people – and often my mind jumps right to the outward appearance. But I’m going to work at it. One compliment at a time. And trust that it could make a difference.

 

Love,
Your wacky motivational speaker who loves you not for what you have or look like, but for who you are.

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