Happy Compliment Day! Yes, it is a real thing. Today is the day to throw compliments around like confetti and yet if we aren’t careful our well-intentioned compliments might stunt our growth and that of those who we love the most.
Let’s talk about how what we compliment matters. And the subtle ways compliments can stunt growth if we aren’t careful.
She said if you want a student to work hard, praise hard work. If you want students to work toward solving ever challenging problems, praise effort toward that end. If you want students to rely on their own inner guidance rather than look to you for praise, remind them that their hard work matters to them.
Did you know that when kids are complimented on their smarts, it can lead to them to a fixed mindset? Did you know that people with a fixed mindset would rather not try a challenging problem than to be seen as anything less than smart?
This was exactly what happened to me as a child. Teachers and adults in my life always told me I was smart and such a good girl. This lead me to do whatever it took to keep others believing that about me even though I did not.
I had a fixed mindset. It wasn’t until I started my career as a teacher and learned how and what we say to students can have a lasting effect on their lives well into adulthood.
Those with the fixed mindset believe that you are either born with it or not. They spend a lifetime trying to keep that belief rather than growing.
When we compliment kids on their effort or work within the framework that our brains are muscles and get stronger with each challenge, kids develop a growth mindset.
People with a growth mindset will keep trying new ways to solve problems, work harder, start over and keep coming back at problems until they have solved them.
Praise the deed, not the doer.
Complimenting appearances is another place where we mean well, but the well-intentioned message can be misinterpreted.
Again, what we notice is what kids come to believe is what matters.
If we want to raise kids who show initiative, tell them you appreciate that they noticed a job that needing doing and they got it done. If kindness is an important trait, notice when your kids have been gentle and helpful (the definition of kind) and tell them you noticed.
Sometimes kids don’t need more than a sincere thank you to feel encouraged. A genuine thank you goes way further than a hollow “good job” any day of the week.
All these go for adults too.
Next time you want to compliment a friend or colleague, notice something about them rather than their appearance.
Some examples are:
“Noticed how you spoke up in that meeting and I was cheering for you.”
“Thank you for showing me what hard work and dedication look like. I really admire you.”
“You look really happy.”
What kind of mindset do you have: fixed or growth? What kinds of compliments to you give and receive?
ACES, or Adverse Childhood Experiences study, looks at childhood experiences like divorce, neglect, abuse, loss and trauma and the connection to long term adult health problems like heart disease, cancer, depression, autoimmune disease and more.
One of the comments I got from a client last summer in a group coaching program is that I “took away the stigma” from seeing a mental health professional because I talked so openly about my own relatively high ACES score.
I am lucky in that I have been in and out of therapy since I was 10 years old and realize how much better off I am because of that experience. I feel it really saved my life and I’ve been able to heal so much of my ACES experience and build up my resilience.
The long and short of it is if you’ve had early trauma and you haven’t yet dealt with it, now is the time. There are long term health consequences that might lead to early death.
Watch this TED Talk from Nadine Burke Harris — she breaks down what ACES is and what the study is finding long term. She also brings up the point that many people write this off as something that happens to other people’s kids ie the poor kids.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. People across all races, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders have high ACES scores.
If you’d like to find out your own ACES score and learn more about what it means, click here.
If you’d like to learn 8 Ways People Recover from Post Childhood Adversity Syndrome, click here.
I have done 7 of the 8 practices mentioned in the article: taking the test, writing, yoga, meditation, therapy, EMDR, building community are all part of my healing.
There is hope. We can heal from our past. But first we must admit that we bring our past into our present.
What practices will you do to help recover from your ACES?
The Enneagram is a personality typing framework that helps us better understand ourselves. It shows us what makes us tick, what our highest version of ourselves looks like, what our lowest version of ourselves looks like and what drives us crazy. It shows us our blind spots.
There are 9 Enneagram types and each has its own fears, desires, motivations and core needs. Each of the types has “good” and “bad” aspects and no one type is better than the other. (Although you might not believe that once you identify your own type.) It’s common to see bits of ourselves in each type, but we all have one core type that doesn’t change over time.
I just learned mine recently and it has kinda blown my mind. Reading about my type I could see straight away my least attractive coping mechanisms when I am stressed. I shared it with my husband and he exclaimed, “Have these people been following you around?!?”
Anne Bogel calls the Enneagram chapter of Reading People – “Confront Your Junk”. This seems like a fair assessment.
When we confront our junk, we can make better, less reactive choices in our lives. We can start down a path of self-acceptance and we can become the highest version of ourselves. This is really what self-knowledge is all about.
If you’d like more information about the Enneagram types and why you should care, you can check out the Selfie Podcast. In their 10 part Enneagram Series Kristen and Sarah dive into what it means to be each type and interview people who live in each type.
Interested in finding your Enneagram type? There are two ways to do that!
Option ONE: I did not take a test because the reading through the descriptions make it abundantly clear my type. You know you’ve gotten to your type when you cringe really hard. Your type is the one which makes you sweaty under your armpits.
Each week in 2018 I’ll be sending you articles that have sparked my interest because they are all about Self-Care and Life Satisfaction.
The Mission List – The Mission List is an online community of social media changemakers using its power to change the world. Mission Listers engage and activate their social media communities in order to achieve social good. Women are the engines of social and political change. It doesn’t matter if you have 50 followers or 1 million, you can make the world a better place. Join us!
Disclaimer: I don’t highly recommend this book. I bought it, read it and at the end was wanting to tear out the last 20% of the book. The author is super religious and that rubs me the wrong way. That being said, I LOVE the concepts in the book. So if you’d like to get what you need without having to read the book – check out this episode of the Buy The Book podcast. Kristin and Jolenta break it down with a lot of humor and hit all the necessary points perfectly.
What is The Five Love Languages and why does it matter?
I will start with why it matters. As I said here, the best way to build habits and routines that work is through self-knowledge. What works for me might not work for you. What we need and how we respond to the world is different based on who we are as people. So the love languages gives us another piece of the self-knowledge puzzle.
Specifically why the love languages matters is because your love language is how youfeel love and in turn most likely how you show love to others. This matters because what makes you tick is different from what makes me or your partner or sister or BFF tick.
The five love languages are:
Words of Affirmations (or as I like to call it, GOLD STARS). This is my primary love language. I am driven by genuine, specific compliments. Encouraging words what gets me going in the morning. It makes my heart sing to hear how great you think I am doing and I love being acknowledged. This is my husband’s secondary love language, so he also digs compliments and gold stars. Compliments make WOA folks feel loved.
Acts of Service (or as I like to call it, Getting Shit Done). This is my husband’s primary love language. That dude is always doing stuff around the house, at work, for others. He shows how much he loves you by doing all the yard work, washing the car and putting all the groceries away. I get it! This is my secondary language. I am a fan of helping people do unpleasant tasks like cleaning out their closets and reading endless rounds of copy for their website. For a full love experience, just wrap it up with a compliment and genuine appreciation at the end. For the Acts of Service folks to feel love, you have to do stuff for them!
Quality Time (or as I like to call it, Asses in the Seats). If this is your love language you value time with your people. You always want to be doing stuff with them. You could be running errands at Target or IKEA or seeing your favorite band. You want to spend time at a cabin and sit by them while you read a book. You just want your peeps to be nearby. For QT people, you have to show up and stick around for them to feel loved.
Physical Touch (or as I like to call it Snuggling and Cuddling) – This is one is super straightforward. You like to hold hands when you walk together places, you like to hug, you want to put your feet in your partner’s lap or have them rub your head. Big bear hugs, massages and touch make PT people feel loved.
Receiving Gifts – (or as I like to call it, The Generous Ones) – These folks are the best gift givers in the world. They always send the most thoughtful gifts. If you are on the receiving end of a Gifts person, know that in order for them to feel loved, they need to get gifts too! The gifts don’t have to be expensive, just well thought out.
Knowing your love language and ultimately all about YOU will help you build a more personalized self-care plan. Knowing the love languages of your friends, partner and kids will help you express love toward them the way they best feel it. When you share your love language with the people in your life, hopefully they will show you love the way you feel it best.
Want to learn more about personalized self-care and how to put it to work in your life?
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