“- I loved your FB post about not forgetting to tell people how wonderful they are! I couldn’t agree more with it. Yet, I’m totally not used to saying these things. For some reason, maybe cultural conditioning, it feels hard to say these things. I wonder if you could help me with managing how to say those things… I know it feels wonderful to hear it myself.” /Victor 44.
Sure I would love to help you with that brother! This is not a big problem for you I would say. If you already are aware enough to ask that kind of question I can see that you already are and feel that gratitude and love towards others that you maybe don’t express. If you want to add some words to what you already feel – great. If not, you still share your appreciation for others in other ways that you maybe not are aware of, because you feel it. There is however a natural law that says that what you give is what you get. So if you want to receive more love and generosity, it is important to do this change.
I would say there is three things you can try in order to allow those old patterns of not complementing or giving kind words to dissolve. The three things to coach yourself softly is:
1. Awareness. To look fearlessly at some emotional or behavioural pattern can sometimes be enough. To understand something is usually a great first step to create acceptance and patience. This is meditation. What are your patterns of behaviour and emotion when it comes to giving compliments and kind words? See where it comes from. Why don’t your culture or father/mother express love and appreciation with words? What was the fear that made them not express the love they felt?
2. Receive gracefully. A usually forgotten part of giving is receiving. They are intimately connected and when you can’t receive love gracefully, that is usually a clue that you cant give. There are many levels of how you actually can receive something. To become more aware about it try this; Whenever someone says something nice to you, say “thank you” and then take a deep breath and be silent. During this breath, turn on the light inside and listen/feel what immediate effects those words have in you. Become aware of any pattern of reaction as for example to just say the same back; “I love you too”, or diminish it; “Ah that’s nothing I just did my job” or how you in any other creative way divert the compliment instead of fully receive it.
3. Just do it + mindfulness. Just do it + Mindfulness. When you feel you appreciate someone very much – say it and then be silent and listen inside and outside what happens.
* When you feel it would be a bit uncomfortable to say a compliment, do it anyway, and just observe how it feels. Say nothing more just listen inside and outside. (…yes I know that this will feel a bit forced in the beginning and maybe not always as a genuine compliment, but that too is just an object for your awareness to be noticed. To discover what is genuine and what is not is a great knowledge to gain.)
* When you feel someone else is irritating you or is not to your benefit – look for the golden nugget in that pile of sand and compliment that golden nugget genuinely and then stop and listen, inside outside.
“just do it” is to create a new conditioning and at the same time acknowledging and create awareness of the emotions that might arise of the old patterns when doing the contrary. Its “fake it till you make it” but with the element of meditation which makes it an organic transformation and not a forced change.
If you cannot stay long holding space for that emotion arising when saying the compliment, just go back later to that moment in the mind until you feel that emotion in your body again and hold space for that until it feels heard/seen. No comment or evaluation, just accommodate the emotion triggered by the situation and your action. This includes both “good” emotions and “bad” emotions connected to giving/receiving compliments.
* Be unconditional, unconditional and unconditional. Important is to “just do it” without any expectations of result (ex the other should be happy, say something back, be nice, change to a better person, treat you or others better, I should feel better… ) Just say it because it can be said and will bring some love into the world.
Are you willing to fail giving good genuine compliments brother? Well then there is nothing stopping you.
Thanks for asking. Your curiosity on life and confidence in my ability to provide help makes me grow.