The Amazing Power of Giving a Compliment

The Amazing Power of Giving a Compliment

Discover the surprising benefits of being positive and giving more compliments!

By Maria Mora

You have the power to turn someone’s entire day around, and it’s easier than you think. All it takes is a compliment.

Life coach Shannon Battle says that as human beings, we crave feeling acknowledged and validated. “We want someone to recognize us, and when people give compliments, that signifies that someone is paying attention,” she explains. In a world where people often feel alone and disconnected, a simple compliment triggers feelings of self-worth. “It just helps them to feel better altogether,” says Battle.

You don’t have to put much effort into a compliment. Just try it. Next time you’re in line at the grocery store, tell someone that you like her haircut, her shoes, or her earrings. Next time you’re working alongside a colleague, take a moment to point out a personal strength. Tell a friend you value her friendship. Compliments don’t need to be elaborate. They just need to be sincere.

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There’s something in it for you, too. According to Battle, the benefits aren’t only for the person receiving the compliment. She says that giving a compliment allows people to feel like they’re contributing positively to the world. It triggers a rush of good feelings, and it teaches a lesson. “It helps someone be in tune with others’ needs and not be selfish with their own,” she explains.

What’s more, a compliment has the power to stick with someone for years. Something that may have felt insignificant or simple to you could have immense significance to someone else.

Tracey, a mom of two from Canada, recalls a stranger telling her that her smile was beautiful. “I remember him often,” she says. “And I make a point of smiling at people -- properly, and on purpose -- all the time.”

Similarly, Abbie, a mom of teenagers from North Carolina, experienced a compliment that addressed a long-held insecurity: her laugh, which has always sort of embarrassed her. “Someone I spoke to today on the phone told me she loved my laugh,” she says. “She said she could listen to it all day.” The quick compliment helped heal years of being self-conscious about it.


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Don’t underestimate the instant effect you can have on someone. Colleen, a mom of two boys from Florida, received a compliment out of the blue that made her day. “A year ago in Pilates class, an older woman came up to me and told me that she watched me for how to do the moves, and I had good form, and she could see I was getting so much stronger,” she says. She cried on the spot, touched by the woman’s words.

“People feel alone, or that no one can relate or connect,” says Battle. By giving a compliment, you’re taking someone out of that toxic headspace. You’re showing her that she’s not alone, that you recognize her, and that you appreciate her. You’re making a difference in someone’s life. Isn’t that amazing?

How often do you give compliments?

Maria Mora is a single mom, editor, and hockey fanatic. She lives with her two sons in Florida.

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