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Good Compliments
November 18, 2015

Quick Tool

Boost Your Self-Esteem

1) Don't spread bad stuff about yourself

Low self-esteem makes you generalize a specific incident, situation, or trait and spread it to everything.

So Suzy burns a meal she's prepared for her kids and from this generalizes to: "I'm such a lousy mum, I can't even cook a meal!"

This is known as 'globalizing' and if you do this for negative things, you'll feel bad about yourself. Knowing you are doing it is the first step to challenging it. If you catch yourself doing this - for example, telling yourself you're stupid because you made a mistake - then force yourself to find examples that contradict your own negative blanket statement.

2) Look to the origins - briefly

Low self-esteem usually results from how we are conditioned by other people. If you were systematically insulted, criticized, or bullied, then you are more likely to have absorbed the negative messages about yourself instigated by other people.

Think about who these other people were and when you feel bad about yourself, take a moment to ask yourself: "Hold on. Whose voice is that in my head?"

I bet it really belongs to someone else originally. Starting to override other people's conditioning of us is the first step to psychological independence; the real 'you' (that you should be listening to) can be much kinder and more reasonable about yourself.

3) Be fair to yourself and others

Low self-esteem makes us magnify failures and personal faults and minimize or completely discount successes and personal strengths. Don't do this. Be fair. If other people say you are attractive, clever, kind, fun, or whatever, respect them enough to at least consider that what they say is a probability.

Remembering and dwelling on criticisms while discounting and forgetting compliments (or any positive feedback) is a very biased, off-balance way of travelling through life.

4) Ditch the imperfect perfectionism

"If it's not perfect then it's a total failure!" The idea that something is 100% useless unless it is 100% perfect, is a trap. Low " self-esteemers" often see things in very all-or-nothing terms. "That family is just perfect!/I'm just useless!"

Of course nothing in this world is perfect and no one is entirely useless. To stop this destructive black-or-white thinking, do this: Think, " If 100% is perfect and 0% is 'total failure' or 'totally useless!', how do I rate the meal I cooked?" This forces realism.

You might only give yourself 20% for the meal or your speech or whatever, but then look at that 20% and ask yourself: "What enabled that 20%? And how can I build on that to get to maybe 25%?" This breaks down the perfect/disaster thinking which drives and maintains low self-esteem.

5) Take care of your appearance

Low self-esteem leads to a vicious cycle. We feel bad about ourselves, so we don't dress well, keep fit, or get decent haircuts; but neglecting our appearance in turn causes more low self-esteem. Take time out to look after your body. Get a massage or manicure (unless you're a macho guy, of course : ) ). Buy clothes that look good on you. Don't see this as superficial or irrelevant, because the ripple effect of changing outward aspects of yourself can lead to changes on the inside.

And you can take time to close your eyes and start to visualize yourself looking fit, healthy, and nicely dressed whilst doing something you can be proud of - whether that's talking confidently to others or just looking so calm and relaxed.

Healthy self-esteem consists of:

Honest respect for your own abilities, potentials, and value.

Knowing your strengths and trusting in them.

Appreciation and open acceptance of your limitations.

Acceptance of these limitations whilst understanding that some limitations can be overcome.

Freedom from being overly concerned with what we imagine others think of us.

Whilst accepting these perceptions do play a part in everyday life, remember they do not determine who we are.

Remember: a diamond doesn't know its own value, but it is still a diamond nonetheless.

Blog Roundup

Why Am I Depressed?

Easy Relaxation Techniques

Cope with Stress Today

Feel Good Stuff

Good Compliments

A man walked into a bar, sat at the counter and ordered a beer. As he sipped the brew, he heard a soothing voice say, "Nice tie." He looked around but nobody was there. The place was empty save for himself and the bartender, washing glasses at the far end of the counter. A few moments later he heard the disembodied voice again: "Beautiful shirt." A little shaken, the man called the bartender over.

"Hey, I must be losing my mind," he said. "I keep hearing these voices saying nice things, and there's not a soul in here but us."

"It's the peanuts," answered the bartender.

"Say what?" replied the man in disbelief.

"You heard me," said the barkeep. "It's the peanuts . . . they're complimentary."

(Hmm. I should probably apologize for that. But let’s talk about compliments.)

Fulton Sheen once said, “Baloney is flattery laid on so thick it cannot be true, and blarney is flattery so thin we love it.” I’m not talking about baloney or blarney, but rather about sincere compliments and power they can have.

Eleanor Roosevelt never remembered being complimented by her mother. Anna was deeply disappointed in her daughter’s looks and demeanor. She often called young Eleanor “Granny.” To visitors, she would say, “She is such a funny child, so old-fashioned that we always call her Granny.”

“I wanted to sink through the floor in shame,” an older and wiser Eleanor later recalled.

In a similarly harsh vein, Anna sometimes admonished her young daughter, “You have no looks, so see to it that you have manners.” Yet through it all, Eleanor forever wanted her mother’s approval. But it wasn’t to be, for Anna died at the age of 29, when her daughter was only eight.

What could it have been like for little Eleanor if her mother shamed less and complimented more? Sincere compliments and acts of appreciation have the power to transform. We often remember them for years and they have a proven way of influencing future behavior.

Using compliments wisely was one of the secrets of the phenomenal success of Mary Kay Ash (of Mary Kay Cosmetics). “Everyone wants to be appreciated,” she often said, “so if you appreciate someone, don't keep it a secret." Likewise, Mark Twain famously said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” That probably goes for most of us.

What’s a GOOD compliment? It’s one that is both sincere and timely. Insincere flattery is false. It patronizes at best. But a sincere compliment is a heart-felt expression of appreciation. And when said in the right way at the right time, it has the power to call forth something beautiful in another.

One man changed his life by learning how to offer a simple compliment. “I never let a day go by without giving at least three people a compliment,” he says. He challenges others to give it a try. Since adopting this exercise, he says he has discovered an extraordinary response from other people. He adds that he is experiencing a growing appreciation for the various people in his life.

I have begun practicing the exercise myself. I am discovering that few things can so quickly change a relationship as the right word said at the right time. And what’s more, surprising someone with a compliment can be a fun thing to do.

Besides -- you can’t always depend on the peanuts to be complimentary.

~ Steve Goodier of

Always keep in mind that a low-stress lifestyle never "just happens." Practicing relaxation and stress management techniques every day is the key to success. The more you practice, the more automatic it becomes.

Stay in the (k)now,


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