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Compliments, a intriguing word that one. I’ve found that there is an interesting duality between people and how they react to compliments, and how they want them so much. It seems to be such an interesting duality between craving and desire and suspicion and dilligence.

The first interesting thing is that people really do desire compliments. It’s obvious that they do so. We all strive for self-validation, to be remarked about in the positive, to be reassured that we are worthy individuals, who are capable of achieving things. A compliment is amazing to us when we get given one, it gives a person such a tremendous lift, by validating the very hope and nature of a person. To be given one uplifts a person. Sadly not enough are given, and not enough are accepted when given.

The reason I think that so few people give them though is that so few people seem to know how to receive them. When people give them, they are greeted with at least outright concern if not distrust. You don’t trust the person who gives you a compliment. You presume that they have an agenda, that they are out to manipulate you, that it is flattery, some species of false praise. You never assume that it is meant to be taken as it might be given, with sincerity and honest appreciation. If only that we could trust one another enough to take it with such admirable sincerity.

If we are abysmal at receiving them its because we are abysmal at giving them. It’s very hard to give a compliment in the manner it ought to be given. We need to try somehow to give fair compliments to other people as often as possible, without raising their defenses. A sincere compliment, when well delivered will leave most people flattened if you can pull it off with the requisite skill. I recommend practice as a good way to get there, and its something I will endeavor to do more often. It requires us to go out of our way, but that should be a necessary price.

The essential core of all these elements though seems a core requirement of sincerity. Not enough people in the world are trusted enough by us to fall into this category. So few people get from us the basic trust required that it can only be viewed with sadness and disconsolation. If only we could let more people give them to us. How much better would we be?

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3 Comments

    • moonriver
    • Posted May 18, 2005 at 10:56 am
    • Permalink

    Well written !

    • Anonymous
    • Posted May 18, 2005 at 5:31 pm
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    Capital Stuff Old Chap!!

    – James

    • Kreg
    • Posted June 4, 2005 at 5:30 am
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    Whah… Hard core… Preach it.
    So right.


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