We nitpick others and ourselves too often. Sitting at a cafeteria table, we judge the group of girls across the room. We put them down to lift ourselves up because we spent the morning convincing ourselves of our faults and failures while staring in the mirror.
When we put another person down, it’s because we’re jealous. When they put us down, it’s because they want what we have. It’s a twisted game that we play, but we’ve all become pros.
What if we changed the rules of the game and started being honest? We would have to admit that we thought another person was beautiful and special. We’d have to believe that we were beautiful too! This is an entirely foreign concept for us; we wouldn’t even know how to start.
It’s hard to admit the goodness in another person when we’re used to putting everything and everyone down. But, it’s even harder to publicly express that we see this beauty. How can we start encouraging others and boosting their confidence when all they do is push us down?
It may seem odd at first, and we might not get an immediate response, but goodness is contagious, so once we start complimenting others, a trend will begin. Before long, everyone will be complimenting one another and begin to see beauty in everything.
So, to help you along your way, here are seven effective ways to give a compliment.
It’s hard to jump into the deep end, so start simple by complimenting something that’s manufactured. Simply tell someone you like her sweater, her hairstyle is cute or her make-up looks good. You can even do this in passing. Don’t make it a big deal, just casually compliment. It’ll throw her off guard, but act as if it’s natural for you to say something like that. You’ll impact her day, and she may even return the favor, if not to you, to someone else, which will set a ripple in motion.
Compliment Natural Beauty
Everyone has a beauty that God uniquely created. These physical traits are easy to recognize. Maybe someone has striking eyes or a model body. Take it to the next level by complimenting a beauty that is distinct to that particular person. It might take awhile to move past your own jealousy, but once you do, you’ll be able to appreciate God’s craftsmanship. Complimenting someone’s natural beauty is something that can be done a little more intimately: tap her on the shoulder, or pull her aside and say, “You have gorgeous hair, it really brings out your eyes.” That’s it. You’ll probably receive a “Thank you,” but in reality that person will be thinking about your compliment for the rest of the day and by the time she goes home at night, she may even believe it to be true.
Compliment a Job Well Done
When you’re proud of yourself, it’s incredible to have someone else recognize your efforts. Whether someone made a good presentation in class, or made the winning score at the game, she deserves a little pat on the back. It’s exhausting to always be working at your best, so boost someone up when you notice her effort. Your compliment will lift her confidence and give her the encouragement she needs to keep working hard.
Compliment Talents and Spiritual Gifts
Everyone is good at something. Many people are really good at a lot of things. It’s easy to see if someone’s really smart or a really good athlete. They need to be reminded of their talents rather than being reprimanded for not being good enough in another area of their life. All talents are given by God and deserve recognition by His people. Beyond natural aptitudes, God has instilled each of us with spiritual gifts. These are gifts active in us through the Holy Spirit. As we’re on our journey to discover who we are in the eyes of God, it can be incredibly helpful to have someone praise us for our spiritual gifting. It can be hard to see these in our own lives, so a compliment can provide the confidence others need to continue on their spiritual journey.
Once you get to know a person a little more you can compliment something about her character – who they are. Maybe she’s the class clown, or a genuine friend who’s always concerned with the needs of others. Complimenting a deeper trait needs to be done during the right time, otherwise it’s really awkward. If the jokester makes a comment at the end of class, catch up to her and say, “You’re so funny, you always make me laugh.” If your friend is there when you need a shoulder to cry on, take the attention off yourself and tell her how much you appreciate her support. By providing compliments on internal characteristics, you’re providing insight on who God is molding that person to become. She might start noticing other strengths in her life and realize her internal self-worth.
If someone finds you beautiful in an area that you pick at, your heart will be warmed and blessed – so why not do this to others? Through observation, you’ll begin to notice the areas in one’s life that she tries to hide or avoid. By complimenting someone’s insecurity, you’re reassuring her that she can be who God created her to be in her entirety. She doesn’t need to hide anymore; she can stand firm in her identity.
Compliment Faith or Spiritual Knowledge
One of the greatest compliments you can give is to our Lord and Savior by praising His work in the life of one of His children. By identifying someone’s strong faith or knowledge of God, you’re acknowledging her willingness to work with God or let Him work in her life. This is a compliment that lasts a lifetime and drives someone to continue to grow in the Word, making her a better person, thus impacting the world with God’s goodness.
Now that you feel comfortable giving compliments, find a way to compliment everyone you encounter. You don’t have to go out of your way. Say something nice to the person who’s mixing up your treat at Cold Stone or compliment the person sitting in front of you during math class. Sometimes it’s easy to find something to compliment, but some people just aren’t likable. It’s these individuals who need the encouragement the most. Ask God for insight on their qualities and don’t run away from an opportunity to make an impact in the life of another person.