Someone told me recently that it’s a trait of human nature that we tend to disbelieve something positive about ourselves but will immediately accept the negative. Try it for yourself – it’s true. If someone tells you that you’re looking fantastic and they love the clothes you’re wearing, the chances are you’ll say, “Oh, this old thing, I’ve had it in the wardrobe for ages” and dismiss it without a second thought. However, if they say to you, “Are you OK? You look dreadful this morning!” you might reply, “You know, I am feeling tired, I’ve not been sleeping well,” even though you felt great when you got up.
Why do we do this? Why are we so bad at accepting the compliments that would make us feel great for the rest of the day? And it’s not just about clothes, it’s about work, our relationships, our hobbies – it’s anything that we like to do for ourselves that makes us feel good. It’s as if we can’t accept that anyone else could possibly say anything nice without wondering what their ulterior motive is.
Well, here’s a radical idea – what if there is no ulterior motive? What if someone said you looked nice or you were good at your job because you actually were? What if someone actually wanted to help you feel great about yourself because they understood that making you feel good made them feel good?
I’ve written about the Law of Attraction before and about how you attract what you think about most into your life. You might think compliments about someone umpteen times a day but never say anything – and why not? Because we seem to be stuck in the belief that people don’t want to hear nice things about themselves, that’s why. We feel that they would be suspicious of our praise or wave it away so we might as well not bother. We are trapped in a cycle of not complimenting in case we are dismissed, and dismissing compliments because they come so infrequently that we mistrust them. Silly, really, isn’t it?
Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and the shops are already full of cards and gifts that we can give to our sweethearts to show them that we love them. It’s an opportunity to make up for all the times that we don’t say the words all year – but can presents and cards on one day really compensate for all those missed opportunities? It’s better than nothing, but I think we can do better than that.
The basis of any religion is love – love for our partners, children and families of course, but also everyone else around us. “Love thy neighbour” isn’t just those living next door but every other human in the world. We don’t have to go round giving them hugs or making a big deal about it but a simple compliment, even to a stranger, can make someone’s day and will attract that same energy back to you.