It’s such a small thing to give a compliment. At the same time, it’s huge (to the receiver).

How many nights go by where you realize you never gave any compliments during the day? Did the kids come home and you shuttled to sports, made dinner, made sure homework was done, and got everyone settled in bed with a sweet “Love you”? Did you have a busy day at work and not really notice co-workers in any positive way? We all have days like that. Days that turn into months. When is the last time you gave a heartfelt compliment (besides “that’s a nice shirt!”)

Happify.com says that giving a genuine compliment requires us to look for the good in others. We all know that greater appreciation and genuine recognition leads to better relationships. Remembering to compliment people we are close to forges a sense of awareness and positive energy. Complimenting people we see throughout the day also spreads that energy. We’re not talking fake flattery or conjuring up anything to construe as a compliment. An actual genuine compliment can roll off your tongue easily or you may have to look deeper for it. Psychology Today offered this, which I really love: “Compliments are little gifts of love. They are not asked for or demanded. They tell a person they are worthy of notice. They are powerful gifts.”

Isn’t it lovely that they called it gifts? But why is it hard for some people to give those gifts of spoken compliments? There are probably many reasons, but being aware is a starting point. Look for the good in people and compliment something as it comes up. Examples of this toward your children could be:

  • “I really liked the way you handled that loss in today’s game. I know it was tough but you did a great job at sportsmanship.”
  • “You chose a beautiful outfit today.”
  • “I love the way you shared that with your brother.”
  • “How thoughtful of you to bring me a glass of juice.”
  • “You really worked hard for that.”
  • “Your hugs make my heart happy.”
  • “Wow, I see your reading is improving so much! You’ve focused on it and it definitely shows.”
  • “You make my life special because you are special.”
  • “Your friends are lucky to have you as a friend.”
  • “You make me proud every day.”
  • “I notice how you cleaned your room and organized so creatively.”

Words like that, that come from your heart as you become a noticer, can really change someone’s day. When compliments infuse our days with positivity, we tend to give that back also. We all need compliments to feel validated. And we all should give them, to become less judgmental and more accepting.

Learn to compliment more by making a promise to yourself to compliment one stranger and one co-worker each day. Do the same to your spouse or partner if you have one. Compliment your children at least three times a day. But they must be genuine, not overboard and not contrived in any way. For some of us, this may be a challenge, for others, it will be easier. It also teaches us to focus on, and look for, the good. If your son’s hair is a mess and you feel yourself just about to point that out (been there!), why not try to look for something kind and complimentary to say? It just might make his day a little better when he can relax and feel good about himself. And who doesn’t need that?

I’m on a mission to compliment more. Who will join me? January 24th is National Compliment Day, what a perfect time to start! Learn more here.