My new speaker friend Kim Nowlin received this heart-warming text message as we were having lunch together yesterday:
“I wanted you to know that your talk at MOPS changed my life! I have been more aware of being in the moment with my kids. And instead of always saying ‘no’ to do the dishes or laundry, I’ve said yes more often. And it’s only been a day. Hoping it sticks! Thank you.”
Which got me thinking about the good, better, and best kinds of compliments.
Before I do, let me say this:
I appreciate every woman who talks to me after I’ve spoken and leaves a comment to a blog post I’ve written.
It’s so much easier to just listen ‘n’ leave or read ‘n’ run.
Please hear me loud and clear:
Something is always better than nothing when it comes to compliments!
Compliments as a Cure for Complaints
Compliments are the opposite of complaints.
So to help me be more intentional about not complaining, I am being more intentional about complimenting.
And I’m finding that not all compliments are created equal.
The easiest compliments to give are general, sweeping statements like
- You’re wonderful!
- You’re a great speaker!
- You’re a fantastic writer!
At the risk of sounding petty, I’ll confess that such compliments leave me wanting more.
I used to berate myself for being a people-pleaser who craved detailed praise to feed the hunger of her insatiable ego.
But I’m discovering a larger truth about compliments that is less about pride and more about relationships.
Vague compliments are a one-way transaction: You give. I receive. The end.
But a specific compliment connects us. It begins a cycle of reciprocal blessings. For example:
1. “You got me thinking…”
This excites me to no end, because now I’ve become a part of this woman’s journey. As she shares how her thoughts are connecting and changing as a result of my message, I’m nodding, taking notes, or both! This is why I’m a speaker: not just to give out a message, but engage in dialogue about the “renewal of our minds“.
2. “You made me feel…”
I know, I know, I know: Whitney Houston got it right when she sang, “Don’t trust your feelings.” And I know that brain research confirms that our lives change when our feelings change. We can change our minds all we want, but until all that information works its way into our hearts, we’re just taking a head trip. So when a woman shares how she’s feeling stubbornness being transformed to tenderness, I want to dance!
3. “You changed how I…”
My favorite kind of compliment doesn’t have same-day delivery. It comes weeks, months, even years down the road. I’ll never forget the woman who walked up to me at a MOPS meeting and said, “You changed my life.” When I asked her what she meant, she said, “All that stuff you said about the personalities last year? It totally changed how I relate to my husband and children. I found mercy.” We both recognized that it was certainly not I, but the Holy Spirit working in both of our lives who produced such astounding changes. This kind of compliment has me singing praise and gratitude the whole way home, energizing me for the weeks and months to come.
When You Care Enough to Give the Very Best
Ultimately, the best compliment is the one you actually give.
If you don’t give it, it isn’t really a compliment. It’s just words inside your head that never get out to bless the person who blessed you.
Once you’ve decided to invest your time…
- to walk up to the speaker
- to pick up a note card and pen
- to type up an e-mail
…challenge yourself to include one specific detail.
Give a glimpse into how your thoughts, feelings, and/or choices have changed.
Don’t worry about your handwriting or grammar or style.
Simply tell her the difference God’s made in your life through her.
This is the very best kind of compliment we will ever give or get!
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?