I’m still somewhat uncomfortable about receiving compliments. When I was still working, I sometimes got kudos from the public. Even though I could manage a sincere, yet awkward thank you, I actually wanted to hurry to the next item of business as soon as possible. Perhaps part of the discomfort involved disliking the envy of some of my peers. There are a great many people who seem to thrive on jealousy. Envy is the great killer of joy. That said, I really did privately appreciate the accolades.
Most of the women I know do not have such awkwardness about receiving compliments. It seems as if they are much more accustomed to getting them. On the other hand, many of my male friends are disarmed by compliments. We guys like to get a “pat on the back” but we get suspicious if the nice words are too generous. There are exceptions for both genders, but generally my women friends thrive when receiving compliments and the men struggle a bit.
The big take away about compliments is that when they’re sincerely given and appropriately received, life is more harmoniously lived. This is why couples who compliment each other and urge each other to be the best they can be are so happy. What is ideal is to find somebody whose personality compliments your own and is better in some important ways and who lovingly encourages you to improve yourself as a person.
I like to visualize people like musical sounds. There are discordant noises that make us wince and there are harmonious notes that settle our nerves and bring about joy. Even those of us who are not musicians instinctively prefer these complimentary musical tones. Certain types of music and particular pieces of music compliment our personal sensibilities. Our favorite music harmonizes with our highest inner natures.
There is a problem with the subject of compliments. When a person craves compliments he is vulnerable to flattery. Flattery can cause unwise blindness to treachery. The love of flattery is unhelpful to those of us regular citizens and is downright harmful when considering anyone occupying positions of great power. This is why it is so important to have the skill to discern the differences between honest compliments and outright flattery.
When conducting business or negotiating with others, the ability to detect flattery is an important skill. The inability to do so often leads to regretful results. It’s amazing how many people are easily disarmed by flattery. Their defenses are lowered; they leave themselves at the mercy of the people doling out the lovely compliments. As a general rule, it is wise to be wary of generous compliments given by strangers or distant acquaintances.
I feel sorry for people who have the habit of fishing for compliments. I wonder if they’re suffering with low self-esteem. They seem to crave the validation of others. Certainly people are deserving of praise when it is earned. It’s probably unhealthy to inflate another person’s sense of self-worth with unearned compliments, flattery, and half-truths.
Compliments are like spices. Used in the right proportions the flavor is enhanced, too many spoil the food.
I’m still working on being better at receiving sincere kudos. More often now, whenever I get one, I mentally tell myself, “way to go man”. Then I move on with the rest of the day feeling a little lighter and happier.