There is nothing better than knowing that you make a difference in other people’s lives and that what you do matters. Giving a compliment to someone on this day is an easy way to begin!
You are probably wondering what day I am talking about, wonder no more because it`s World Compliment day today.
In the global initiative to create the most positive day in the world, World Compliment Day is celebrated every March 1 to spread joy through simple verbal affirmations of appreciation.
How & Where it All Began
Initiator Hans Poortvliet, a recognition professional started the initiative National Compliment Day in his own country, the Netherlands in the early 2000s. After experiencing the success of it he wondered if making it worldwide instead of just national would eventually turn it into “The Most Positive Day in The World”.
A world-wide holiday to radiate positivity.
So Yes! You heard me right- World Compliment Day is a real thing and you are invited to join the celebrations all through the day today and all year if you ask me.
When was the last time someone gave you a genuine compliment? Not just one of those things that people say to fill the awkward silence but an actual, legitimate compliment? Do you recall the way it made your day and made you feel appreciated?
You were seen. You were heard. You were recognized. You were acknowledged. Somebody was paying attention to YOU and present with YOU at that moment.
Modern manners and etiquette expert, Diane Gottsman says in her Huffington Post article about The Incredible Power of a Compliment that;
"The most powerful compliment communicates the message, "I value you."
We Need To Be More Other-centered
So why don’t we do more of it?
It’s easy to get lost in the autopilot nature of our own lives. Most of us are moving at such a rapid pace, bouncing from one responsibility and obligation to the next, focused on what we need, want and desire that we neglect to truly recognize and appreciate the humanity around us.
Mindfulness teacher Erica Bray says there is an easy solution to our busyness and it`s;
“make a point to be a bit more other-centered, and vocalize compliments to those who inspire us, no matter how big or small that inspiration might be.”
"make a point to be a bit more other-centered, and vocalize compliments to those who inpire us, no matter how big or small that inpirstion might be."
Giving Genuine Compliments Will Make You Better, Happier and Kinder
Expressing admiration and appreciation are relational skills that don’t always come naturally at first–they may need to be learned. But with intention and purpose, compliments can be an important part of relationships with people that can improve the daily lives of everyone.
A British research reviewed in the Daily Mail on millennial women and older, about handling flattery and compliments showed that embarrassment is given as the main reason for not being able to accept a compliment (61%). It was followed by not wanting to draw attention to themselves (55%), feeling uncomfortable (47%) or thinking the words were said by accident (38%).
It's remarkable what words can do for and with the psyche, and that's why it is important to always share an authentic and genuine compliment. Pay more attention to those around you, and when something that someone does or says triggers a feeling of gratitude, speak that gratitude — out loud. Let that person know that you appreciate them. Turn it into a habit with a little bit of daily discipline. This awareness should be extended into one or two compliments each day, just to start. As time goes by it will snowball into something that eventually requires no discipline at all and may even become second nature.
Here are six of my favorite tips on how to get started:
Be specific when verbalizing your Compliment The best way to give a compliment is to be sure that what you are saying is sincere and heartfelt. A couple of years ago I was on my way to my office and saw a woman with curly hair and a colorful fall jacket, and the sight of her just made my soul smile. I felt an instant urge to share this with her and so I did. She immediately slapped me, I bit the inside of my chick and tasted blood. This was clearly not the reaction I was expecting but through past experience I knew that when giving a compliment you also have to detach from the outcome as you never know how the other person might take it. You might change somebody's whole world. In Spite of what I just said, I gently asked if her reaction was necessary as my comment was genuine. She quickly apologized when she realized that, indeed, my compliment was heartfelt. Turns out that she hadn't been outside for weeks and the only reason she was outside was the overwhelment of her anxiety and she just needed to breathe. As I complimented her she thought I was making fun of her. Although we parted ways smiling had I not been specific, the experience, and outcome, may have been different. Sometimes the greatest compliment you can give another human being is to acknowledge them and let them know that they are significant.
Send a handwritten Card or Note I think that handwritten notes and letters are truly genuine and add a personal touch to whatever you want to communicate. For the past six years myself and my team have sent out over 100 handwritten christmas cards to clients and people that have helped us through the year- this as a token of appreciation. This has not only made the receivers feel more seen but many have also told us that it meant alot to them. The fact that we took out time to think about them, find their address (in the times of everything digital) and actually reached out on a personal level was humbling to them. Listen, It doesn’t have to be very long, just a short little message to say something nice never goes wrong, as a matter of fact it's perfect!
Cherish past compliments When nothing seems to be going right, dig deep into your emotional vault and pull out a past compliment that has helped define who you are today. One that made a significant difference in my life was a compliment I received from a male friend 11 years ago when I had just started my production company Nabunya A/S and felt like I wasn't doing anything right. He told me, “Miriam, the faster you truly lean into the fact that you are a channel of good vibes the faster things will begin to turn around for you.” I was humbled by his kind words but it took me some years to really understand what he ment. Every Time I feel like I don't recognise myself, that sentence reminds me of who I am and most importantly of who I love being. A strong compliment can last a lifetime.
Make your words strong and reliable For my career focused ladies and entrepreneurs, this one is especially for you. In these times of high competition and the constant aim for your next break, it's hard to praise others if you always feel like the one that comes out short. Those are the moments that truly show character and integrity. When you can reach out to a competitor or a colleague and congratulate them on a new contract or a new promotion and genuinely mean it is a true sign of confidence, leadership and humbleness. Being generous with your praise will make your words strong and reliable.
Don`t miss an opportunity This one is from Diane Gottsman`s list of ways to deliver an authentic compliment and I couldn't agree more. During my first years in Oslo I was working as an assistant manager at a restaurant and one day when I was on the tram running late to work I saw this young man who looked like he was in his mid 20`s. He had such a solid and admirable posture, a wonderful warmness to his eyes but it was clouded by a slight sadness. Even in that situation, I felt an instant urge to tell him. But this time I became a little hesitant as I was running late and the tram was packed, which meant I literally had to push my way through the crowd of people to get to him. When it stopped I got off and started walking to work but I couldn't shake it off so I turned and tried to see if he also got off and if he was still around. He was. Standing at a crossing waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. I walked up to him and shared what I had observed. His eyes teared up and he said, “Thank you so much for your kind words. I was on my way to have a last meal as I had decided to take my life tonight. It might sound strange but you don't understand the magnitude of what your words mean to me. Thank you so much and have a nice evening.” And he walked off. While I`m not sure of his final decision, our friendly exchange at that particular moment in time changed my world. Whose world would you change if you seized the moment?
Thank Service People daysoftheyear.com suggested this one, also one I deeply support and vow on it`s importance. Service can sometimes be a rather thankless job, and a smile with sincere thanks could mean the world to the service providers you encounter on a daily basis. Bus drivers, cashiers at the coffee shop or grocery store, taxi drivers or even those you run into in the store or gas station. Tell them what a good job they did, or notice something good about them and see how much it can impact their day. It is important to be creative and think about other areas of life where a compliment could go a long way. People in education, medical professionals, and public servants are just a few other areas in which compliments might be effective. With a little thought, it is sure to reveal itself who in life could use a boost!
As you give out your compliments today I hope it feels you with joy and humbleness because it truly is a greater gift to give than to receive. Wouldn't you agree?
Whatever might have made you wander around in the past months will turn around this month and make you a “wonder” to your community and in your relationships.
Happy new month and happy World Compliment Day.
Gratitude & Love,