I haven’t always been good at taking compliments and I’ll go out on a limb and say most American women aren’t very good at accepting praise. We like it, no doubt, but, then, we don’t know what to do. And I am talking about appropriate “atta girls” not harassment during the company picnic. The appropriate response to a few kind words is a simple, “Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say.” Instead, we make statements like, “This old thing? I’ve had this dress forever,” or “Nah, it’s not a big deal. I broker mergers between Fortune 500 companies”
Why do we do this? Affirmation is a good thing. (read article) On the other hand, we often fall short in the compliment-giving area. There is nothing wrong with praising someone for doing a good job. We need to compliment each other a whole lot more than we do. If your co-worker has a nice new haircut, tell her. If your son took the time to iron his wrinkled shirt, tell him he looks nice even if he only ironed the cuffs and the collar. Maybe he’ll iron the entire shirt next time. Again, it’s important to understand the effect of praise. Research has proven that praise, as opposed to criticism, leads to more of positive behavior.
I’m on this tip because I was a weather-proofer for most of my life. When you weatherproof a home, you go through it looking for everything that’s wrong. You find windows that don’t seal properly. You check to ensure there’s enough insulation in the attic. You look for light seeping through cracks around the entry doors; an indication you need to add weather stripping. You pour over every square foot to see where you’re losing energy. In my advancing age, LOL, I’ve learned it’s just as important to look at the good things in my home. It’s beneficial to my mind and spirit to notice what is working properly. This applies to homes…and relationships. We need to seek balance between the praise we give our loved ones and the criticism we hurl at them. We need to spend much more time talking about what’s working properly in our relationships.
I’ve come to believe that people are like my fitness tracker. It’s midrange in price and the design is simple. However, it’s much more complicated than it appears. Whenever I decide to try an activity that’s outside my normal cardio routine like rowing for example. I try to change the function on the face of the watch. Invariably, I forget the peculiar combination of buttons and taps to change the time. I get mad at the thing and yell at it. I tell my Fitbit that it’s wrong and I’m going to replace it. Sometimes, I hit it. It doesn’t change. In order to get the fitness tracker to change on the outside, I must change the inside. I can’t do that by randomly pushing buttons. I have to push the right buttons, in the right order. Once, I get into the “heart” of the watch, I change the “behavior” of the watch. In other words, it responds favorably to my wishes. I react the same way and I suspect you do, too. If someone (manager, neighbor, or relative) communicates with me in the right way, I’m willing to help them. I want to help them. Yelling or hitting me doesn’t make me want to do anything but leave. Perhaps this works for everyone. Maybe if we show each other more appreciation, we’ll get along better. I’m willing to try. Are you?
Copyright 2021. Monica F. Anderson. All rights reserved worldwide.