Everyone knows that compliments create results. Forbes recently reported that receiving a compliment had the same positive effect as receiving a cash incentive – so why do we ignore their importance? As a society we often find it easier to criticize and this can produce untold effects, especially as our bodies are often the first line of attack. The face of Chanel, Keira Knightly, recently spoke out about the effects of criticism by saying,
‘But maybe my body is somehow not right. Or my face is not right. Or the way I speak is not right. When you’re going through a period where you’re really getting a lot of criticism, you go, “Maybe all this is right!” You just kind of want to hide it all.’
It doesn’t have to be this way though. Just take a moment and imagine the difference we could create in the world around us if we turned our negatives into a positive. Giving and receiving a compliment is one of the easiest ways to do this. So what makes a good compliment?
Be honest. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
Be specific. This week Find My Style was facilitating school workshops as part of the Dove Day initiative. One of my favourite exercises from the session is when the participants have to write ‘one thing I like about you is…[and] a really individual thing about you is…’ Actually having to pick one thing for a friend makes you think about what makes that person special.
Be accepting. Typically in British society we have difficulty accepting compliments – we tend to play them down, frown at them or treat them as a cause of embarrassment. One of the most powerful things to do with a compliment is to accept it. One of the best quotes from the Dove Day was when a member of the Unilever staff said,
‘I loved seeing the kids faces when they read their compliments in Activity 3 – really moving/emotional seeing when they gave thanks.’
Accepting that you deserve a compliment might be a challenge but it is definitely a worthwhile one. On Sunday Find My Style will be off to join Radio One’s Sarah-Jane Crawford and Aled for a Body Image Special live from Kings College and this is the message we will be taking with us.