Yesterday I started one of my favorite Facebook threads of all time:
"COMPLIMENT CHALLENGE! Comment your name and I'll tell you something that I like about you."
I didn't come up with the idea, but was excited to borrow it. And even more excited to find that I had brave friends willing to participate.
Brave, indeed, because so many of us have been taught not to seek out compliments, and have a hard time accepting them even when they are freely offered to us.
Perhaps we are trying to be modest, but does modesty really mean we aren't allowed to acknowledge anything good or valuable about ourselves?
I think this tendency to resist compliments is detrimental to everyone involved.
As human beings, we want to feel valuable. Our sense of meaning and purpose comes from knowing that we matter and can make a positive difference. When we deny ourselves compliments, we thwart that fundamental need.
When we avoid being complimented, we also deny other people the satisfaction of honoring and appreciating us. Can you imagine what it would be like to give someone a heartfelt gift only to have them refuse to open it? That's the feeling we inadvertently leave people with when we're trying to be "modest."
In offering this compliment challenge, I've been having a great time thinking about what I like about people: the characteristics I admire, the ways they make me feel, the things that make them unique. And without any prompting, people have been offering compliments back.
It's like a specialized, interactive gratitude practice that has a much bigger impact than just writing words in a journal.
If you are active on social media, I encourage you to try offering a compliment challenge of your own. Or if not, could you find other opportunities to offer compliments?
I'd love to hear what your experience is like. Or if compliments just don't feel like your "thing", tell me more about that! Different perspectives are so important, and it's always great to learn from you.
Have a wonderful week.