Confidence part 1 – The power of compliments

That awkward moment when you lack the poise or confidence to accept someone’s compliment gracefully so you end up saying something ridiculous like, “Thank your.” This might help you avoid that.

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.”

― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

At my 9 to 5 job, I work with a woman who is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. I admire her poise, gentleness, and intelligence. One day a few months ago I watched as another colleague complimented her on a work achievement. Her response to the kind words was graceful and heartfelt, but then, as if that wasn’t enough, she immediately paid it forward. She thoughtfully turned the attention to someone else with a sincere compliment of their recent achievement.

I was in awe. My girl crush skyrocketed. More than ever I wanted to be this woman …when I grow up. I wondered how she has learned to master this social behavior and why I have not. With a bit of introspection, I realized what she has in the way of accepting compliments that I do not. It is simply confidence.

I became intrigued to learn more about behavior related to both receiving and giving compliments and how compliments relate to confidence, so I did some research. First, I had to learn how to spell it correctly. (Yes, I continue to mistake complement with compliment.) Once I got that part straightened out, here’s what else I learned…


  1. Confidence is rooted in your own belief that you have the ability to achieve your goal. Believing that you can succeed at something doesn’t guarantee that you can do it, but it does give you a better chance at success.
  2. Building confidence is not something that has to start when you are young. You can build confidence at any age or stage in your life. You can also lose it and then get it back again. Building confidence happens when you decide to stretch your comfort zone and strive for continuous learning and growing. (Learn more)
  3. Empty compliments can make someone overconfident, but genuine compliments of a real achievement help someone understand their strengths and therefore target areas for viable improvement. Repeated success in a strength area builds well-placed confidence. (Learn more)
  4. When you surround yourself with people who believe in you — who push you to be better, you work harder. These factors working together build your confidence. When you’ve achieved confidence, you’ll feel pride in your hard work, regardless of the outcome of your efforts.
    (Learn more)
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  1. Compliments let people know that what they’re doing hasn’t gone unnoticed. You can compliment someone’s efforts by telling them how it affects you or why you admire their achievement. Better yet, you can compliment others when you see them working toward their goals, so their goals feel more attainable. (Learn more)
  2. To a person who is lacking confidence, a compliment may have the opposite affect — making them feel more insecure. (Here I’ve learned that my tendency to be a perfectionist can knock my confidence off balance at times.)
  3. To deliver a compliment that anyone will appreciate, be sincere and specific. For example: “You did great in your presentation. I loved the analogy you used to make your point. How did you feel about it?” (Learn more)
  4. You don’t have to be socially dynamic to accept a compliment, just gracious. Smile and say something simple, such as, “Thank you. I appreciate your kindness.”
  5. A compliment is a gift. When you take the time to show appreciation and admiration for someone, you become a source of happiness and positivity. (Learn more)

Whether you feel confident in accepting a sincere compliment or not, you can appreciate that someone has made the effort to say something kind to you. Be grateful to have caring people around you. Try to figure out which kinds of complements boost your confidence. Those are probably strength areas that you can continue to develop. Giving compliments strengthens your confidence as well, and spreading kindness is always a good thing, so keep giving sincere compliments! Share the love!

Thank you for spending these moments with me, thinking about life. If you like what you’ve read, I’d love for you to share it. Spread some seeds…

2 replies on “Confidence part 1 – The power of compliments”

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