Personal posts

It’s OK to ask for compliments (and give them to yourself!)

I had a lecture a couple of weeks ago which really engaged me, and left me feeling more positive and enthusiastic for my course, and the future, when I eventually left the lecture theatre over an hour later. The main reason for this is that the lecturer was warm, passionate, engaging, and above all, she challenged something which society seems to inherently do, which is pretty damaging to everyone.

We began the lecture by being asked to get into pairs with a friend, and then write a list of positive and constructive things about them. This may seem like a strange, vaguely silly, and to some even uncomfortable exercise, but it resulted in a lot of love and good energy in that room, and left me thinking. Too often, people are chastised for ‘fishing’ for compliments, the subtle implications there being that we shouldn’t expect praise, and also that it is not ok to want to be praised. Of course, it’s never a good idea to stake your self confidence solely on what other people think of you, or even to a large percentage, but there is so much value in hearing from your friends and family members what they value and admire about you.

The second thing we did in the lecture was to write down where we want to be in five years time, and what we wanted to have achieved and gained. We spent about fifteen minutes doing this, then she asked us all if we felt positive about what we’d written, or worried. A lot of people said they were unhappy with where they thought they would be, and worried about the future. For most, it was down to the fact that they had somewhat sold themselves short, or aimed lower than they really dreamt of. This made me think about how we are often quick to put ourselves down, or lack self confidence and belief.

It is almost frowned upon in society to recognise positive things about yourself, or celebrate your triumphs and achievements. We are bought up surrounded by insecurities and low self esteem, and as much as we are told to be confident, there are few examples of this to follow. Even the most successful people have insecurities, of course, but not enough is done from a young age to foster a positive self image. Bullying in schools, celebrities in the media, and the natural instinct to compare ourselves to others all serve to deepen our doubts and worries.

I say enough. It’s time to stand up and own yourself; recognise your achievements and celebrate your strengths. We all need to spend a bit more time appreciating ourselves. Especially when things are tough it can be the thing which helps us immensely, or stops us from getting better. I feel the world would be a much better place if every day, we thought of three things we like about ourselves, or are proud of having done, and then tell those close to us three things we celebrate about them.

So let’s start today. Let’s look ourselves in the eye, stand up tall, and give ourselves a compliment. A sincere, deep down compliment, from the bottom of our hearts. Then ask your friends or family to write down three things they like, admire or are proud of you for, and do the same for them. Today is the best day to start loving yourself, and those around you, and spreading some positivity.

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