A friend with cancer. A friend with an eating disorder. A friend grieving the loss of their mom. What do all three have in common? They were on the receiving end of my gushing and carrying on about “how great they looked after weight-loss” compliments. And while I meant to celebrate their new appearance, and what I thought to be weight-loss success, I’m not so sure this well-meaning praise didn’t do more harm than good.
Now I know you’re all thinking, “Pam, it’s not your fault. You were just being nice and didn’t know.” While that is true, my last compliment misstep has caused me to pause, just a beat, and think about how I give compliments. And, I know I can do better.
The problem with appearance based compliments, specifically weight-loss, is they are not as kind as they seem nor do we know the real reason behind someone’s weight change. We really have no idea what phase of life they are in. So here’s the question; Is there a way to still give someone a burst of confidence, give ourselves the warm fuzzies for making someone else happy, and point out their positive attributes and characteristics without referencing their body at the same time? Yes, there is! They’re called intangible compliments.
This week, I want to challenge you to compliment beyond what you visually see in your friends and family. I’ve always enjoyed “outside the box” thinking and I’m hopeful this Steeping Sunday Challenge inspires you to give compliments that truly matter. Remember, just like you, the people in our lives have so much more to offer the world than the way they look and it’s our job to tell them in a way that positively affects their well-being.
Here are a few compliments that have nothing to do with appearance to get you started:
• Your smile makes me smile.
• I love the way your face lights up when you talk about “__.”
• You are a good listener,
• You bring out the best in me.
• The world needs more people like you.
• You are a great storyteller.
• You can always make me laugh.
• I am proud of you.
• You inspire me to be a better person.
• You are enough. (my personal favorite)