August 4th and 5th: the Art of Compliment

Starting tomorrow I will be away on a short vacation (spanning from August 5th-August 8th). Inspiration & instruction posting to go along with each activity will continue as usual since I’ve written up all of the corresponding posts and have them ready to go on without me, however  e-mail/comment replies & updates to the participant’s list will not be happening until the 8th when I’ll catch up on everything. Thanks for the understanding!

August 4th – It’s time to turn the positivity you’ve been building up for the last few days  say something positive to everyone you interact with – boost their self esteem!

August 5th – Complimenting others is easy, complimenting yourself is the tricky thing (that is, until you’ve had some practice!) Lets play a little game to make it easier: make up a silly rule (like  “every time I pass a mirror today I have to think one good thing about my body” or “every hour I have to think about one thing I love about myself”) and stick to it for the whole day.

Time to share all of the positivity you’ve been growing with the world around you as well as yourself! I can’t really give much guidance on this one since you obviously know yourself  & the people around you much better than I do… but I do have one small thing to note.

While preparing this post I immediately thought about an interesting study I had stumbled across a few months ago concerning affirmations & self esteem. The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, makes the claim that “trying to get people to think more positively can actually have the opposite effect” by highlighting, in their minds, how unhappy they actually are. I’ll let Time Magazine explain how it works:

“The study’s authors, Joanne Wood and John Lee of the University of Waterloo and Elaine Perunovic of the University of New Brunswick, begin with a common-sense proposition: when people hear something they don’t believe, they are not only often skeptical but adhere even more strongly to their original position. […] And so we constantly argue with ourselves. Many of us are reluctant to revise our self-judgment, especially for the better. In 1994, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a paper showing that when people get feedback that they believe is overly positive, they actually feel worse, not better. If you try to tell your dim friend that he has the potential of an Einstein, he won’t think he’s any smarter; he will probably just disbelieve your contradictory theory, hew more closely to his own self-assessment and, in the end, feel even dumber.”

You may wonder why I’m showing you this when today’s task is to cheer other people up by saying something positive to them, and compliments are very often used as “positive things to say.” Am I advising you to avoid compliments? No. I’m advising you to used them wisely. I presented you all with this study to give the awesome the Jezebel reaction to this study better context, because the Jezebel reaction contains some very important information for effective affirmations. Observe:

Compliments from other people tend to carry more weight the more specific they are. It’s easy to brush off “you’re great,” less easy to ignore “what’s great about you is how you approach new situations with such confidence.” And while it’s always harder to believe your own compliments than other people’s, it might help to start with compliments that don’t suck.

Have a fantastic week, I look forward to catching up with everyone when I get back :)

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