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COMPLIMENTS: Medicine and Magic for the Soul

Updated on November 25, 2007

A Personal Kind of Hug

Compliments are like spoken or written hugs; they make us feel good, they make us feel special. Each of us has at least one segment of our life where compliments are especially appreciated. Being a Mom. Or Dad. Our families. Writing. The value of our work. Our bodies. Fashion. Philosophy. Religion. Home. Living by example.

Compliments, or the lack thereof, came up several times this last week in Coaching Sessions. Although each of my clients has received many compliments in their lives, what they seemed to focus on most were the negative comments, attacks, unfair judgments, dishonest opinions . Sadly, and unconsciously, they too became more fluent in derogatory discourse.

We shifted focus to positive compliments, those previously received. The real ones. The valid ones. Not the insincere or flaky or brown-nose ones. The good juicy ones that had a profound impact on both the giver and receiver; the ones that still put a smile on our faces years later. The ones that still reverberate in the soul.

One that still holds magic for me is, "You have the body of a thoroughbred." I am not a vain person but that short sentence struck a cord somewhere deep inside me. My husband and I were in a friend's hot tub with a group of visitors from abroad. The hot tub, the visitors, the friend, and the husband are long gone, but every now and then when I slip into a bikini I remember those words and smile inside.

My Nature:

"The world would be a better place if more people were like you." (I met someone just like me once and I was bored to tears!)

"You are too gentle to live among wolves." (From Shakespeare)

"You hold this community together."

You have the patience of a saint and the imagination to solve problems like Michelangelo and DiVinci combined.

What you see is what you get; you are the most authentic person I know. (I try)

"You possess a photographic memory." (Nice thought, but no)

"In my next life, I am going to be your dog. You treat all your rescued animals better than most people treat their children." (That is true)

Your home is like a museum where anyone would still be comfortable putting their feet up on the coffee table.

Categories of Compliments

As I was writing this piece I realized many of my compliments fell into the categories that mean the most to me: Spiritual practice. My nature and personal philosophy.

Spiritual practice:

"You are a Bodhisattva Warrior."

"The Angel Brigade would be pleased to have you lead them."

"Among the Light Workers, you are the most radiant."

"You have one foot firmly grounded and one foot dancing in heaven just like an Earth Angel."

"May I call you Reverend Grace?"

"When I think of love, I hear your name, I see your face."

"Meditation and sanity become you."

My Philosophy:

"You have wisdom beyond your years." (I was 18)

"Will you head our conglomerate?" (I was 19)

"Will you run the family empire?" (I was 28)

"Thank you for being an independent thinker that cannot be bought or easily mislead." (I was 30)

"You are everything a woman is meant to be." (I was 35)

"You saved my life, and the life of my entire family, with your Life Skills Coaching." (I was 48)

"I have never met anyone who thinks like you." (All my life)

Nicknames as compliments:

Nicknames can be a form of compliment. When I was a little girl my daddy called me "Chocolate Kisses." Or he did until my mother put on fifty pounds and it wasn‘t so cute anymore. Lovers often give us unique nicknames as a sign of affection. Friends have called me Earth Angel, Golden One and White Bird for years.

Even negative sounding nicknames can be backhanded compliments. My favorites: Ice Maiden (because I never slept with my clients) Dragon Lady (because the words I spoke could both warm and burn) and Fang (because I wouldn't give up once I had my teeth in a project).

The BEST compliments I ever received:

The most magical and medicinal compliments that still have the power to raise my soul no matter how depleted I may feel:

"If I die I want you to marry my beloved soul mate and raise my precious children."

"I would lay down my life to save yours so the world may know your heart a bit longer."

Each was said by unrelated people on several occasions. Both still take my breath away.

Give AND Receive Generously

Be generous and genuine with the compliments you pay to others. Give them often. Appreciation is a miraculous tonic for the person who sips of them AND the person who pours them generously. The compliments you give today may still be magic and medicine in the heart of someone who draws on them years from now.

Even a bit big-headed

By the end of the week my clients had compiled their lists. I had compiled mine. I must say, we ALL felt a lot better about ourselves! (Even a bit big-headed!) Give it a try! It's a lovely thing to review on a gray day!

Received or given, what was your most meaningful compliment??

I would love to hear about the compliments you have given and have received! If you like Hubs with a positive note, please consider a "thumbs up" and a comment below! Blessings Always, Earth Angel!

Compliments by Amazon Books


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  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 6 years ago

    Ahhhhhhhhh, dearest Earth-Angel-MellyMoo,

    Your newest friend, 83, saw a halo/aura around you and knew to ask for your visits! Especially poignant is that it was with your little one!

    8 decades, 3 females, 1 hug that changed all of you ~ and humanity!

    No wonder the Dalai Lama said last year (paraphrased) "It will be Western woman that saves the world!"

    Thank you so much for sharing! Please keep me posted!

    I am your kindred Spirit always, Earth Angel!

  • MellyMoo profile image

    MellyMoo 6 years ago from Australia

    thank you Earth Angel. I am so happy to have found you and yes, I do believe I am an 'earth angel' too. I had an elderly lady come up to me in a shopping centre afew days ago, when I was with my youngest daughter, who is 2. It turns out she is very lonely and she asked me if I would visit her too. She is 83. We hugged and she gave me her number and we will be getting together after the school holidays. I feel so honoured and happy to be there for these beautiful ladies

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 6 years ago

    Dearest Melly Moo,

    Thank you so much for your uplifting compliments and sharing above!

    I am so glad to connect with you, obviously a member of the Angel Brigade as well! Your 86 year old friend is fortunate to have you, and vice versa!

    Oprah often repeats something Maya Angelou told her years ago! (I added a bit) "To any person ~ a child, an adult, a lover or an elder, all that matters is that your eyes light up when they come into the room!"

    I know when your sweet aging friend said that to you she did really mean it! And that is what strikes a cord deep in our souls!

    Thank you so much for sharing! You make my eyes light up because you shared such sweet things in this Hub!

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!

  • MellyMoo profile image

    MellyMoo 6 years ago from Australia

    What a wonderful hub Earth Angel! I learnt years ago about compliments and make sure that I compliment people genuinely on a regular basis. Most people I compliment are so surprised because they are not used to others complimenting them! Compliments always bring a smile to people's faces and that's what I love. I also had to learn to accept compliments, without putting myself down. This was not easy for me, because of my upbringing, but I can finally say "thank you", without adding anything else to that! I would like to share this with you.... I have been visiting my elderly neighbour regularly, as she is 86 and housebound now. She is a beautiful lady and her face lights up when she sees me. The other day she took my hand, looked into my eyes and said "You are a delightful person" "I really mean that ... you are such a delightful person". She touched me deep inside, as I know I do when I visit her. No money can replace this. It is what life is really about!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 7 years ago

    Dearest VocalCoach,

    You are a treasure of the highest and best! Thank you so very much for your loving words! They fill my heart with gratitude and appreciation!

    Thank you also for your kind words as a new Fan! I am honored! I LOVE your writing! Please keep sharing!

    Blessings always, EarthAngel!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    Ahhhh, Earth Angel. . . This should be "required reading". The universe would respond with wild joy and unlimited love if each one of us could see only the good in one another. A true and sincere compliment seeks out the best of others - then sharing this with the recepient. What good does it do to admire a particular thing about a person and just keep it to yourself? Complimenting others has always been an easy and natural thing for me to do. As a vocal and piano teacher, the positive compliments I give to my students, make all the difference in progress and motivation. And I recall the time I was having lunch at a vegetarian restaurant - I spotted a lovely, silver-haired, beautifully dressed lady in her 80's. I left my table, walked over to her and told her how radiant and lovely she looked. Her eyes sparkled and she beamed a "why thank you my dear".

    Some individuals have a hard time accepting a compliment. That should not discourage us from giving them. As I said in my latest hub, when we share a compliment with someone, we are being true to ourselves.

    Thank you Earth Angel for sharing your light and love... vocalcoach

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 7 years ago

    Thank you FaithDream,

    When we only write from our hearts, the words will land where they are supposed to at the time they are supposed to . . . We do the work, and let go of the outcome with trust and faith . . .

    You are doing good work . . . And it is being read where it is supposed to be read . . . And it is traveling further and wider than you ever imagined . . .

    Blessings always, EarthAngel . . .

  • FaithDream profile image

    FaithDream 7 years ago from (Midwest) USA

    Thanks Earth Angel for sharing your compliments on my pages. It is inspiring and encouraging to know that my writing is making a difference.

    I value compliments that are sincere and spoken with thought.

    Your article has brought this to light, maybe it should be put back up on the front burner.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 7 years ago

    Thanks Tony!!

    I so appreciate your comments!! They are both magic and medicine to my soul!!

    Blessings to you and yours always, Earth Angel!

  • tonymac04 profile image

    Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

    I really like this Hub about compliments. Finding good things to say to and about others is very important, especially in relationships.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Love and peace


  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 7 years ago

    Thank you so much MFBIII!!

    I enjoy your writing and Hubs as well!!

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!

  • MFB III profile image

    MFB III 7 years ago from United States

    Not much can compliment this helpful write, 'cept perhaps this comment, which tells you how much I liked,

    the way your advice canhelp people's mmoods spike, to the heavens and beyond~~~~MFB III

  • Lamme profile image

    Lamme 8 years ago

    Excellent hub. We need to remember to be generous with our praise.

  • Jaspal profile image

    Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

    Namaste to you too Earth Angel ... and and also a Good Evening at this time in CA! :)

    Orkut is Google's social networking site, somewhat but not quite like the better known Facebook. If you don't know it, you haven't missed too much - these things hold your interest for a while, and then they wear off soon enough!

    Take care, and all the best. :)

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 8 years ago

    Blessings and Namaste' Jaspal!!

    How lovely to see you again!! Those are such touching words by your son!! I am sure all three of them feel the same way!! It makes the trials of parenthood all seem insignificant in the face of such glowing admiration!!

    Please forgive my ignorance; what is Orkut?? It must be a lovely celebration of some kind that honors those who have made an important and positive difference in our lives!!??

    Thank you again for dropping by Jaspal!!

    I send continued blessings to you, your family and your boys!! How old are they??

    Earth Angel!!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 8 years ago

    Blessings and Namaste' Jaspal!!

    Thank you soooooooooooo much for sharing those lovely sentiments from your son!! That is what makes all the trials of parenting soooooooooooo well worth it!! Words like that bring tears to my eyes!! I am sure your three sons all feel that way!!

    Thank you for sharing Jaspal!! I know you deserved those words and many more!!

    Please forgive my ignorance; what is Orkut??

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • Jaspal profile image

    Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

    This is your second hub I'm reading and I've enjoyed it as much and even more than the first ... will have to read all of yours now, in due course.

    You obviously deserve all those compliments. A million thanks to you for that comment which led me to read your profile and become your fan.

    The most valued compliments I have ever received have been from my three boys. Amongst the best was what one of them went and put in an unexpected surprise testimonial on Orkut. A few lines from it: "Always there to guide us, Always there to set an example for us, Always there to correct us, But most of all Always there to get us up when we fall...Dad u've been amazing and i can only say that im so proud today to have a dad like u!!!!"

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 9 years ago

    Of course MamaDragonFly2677!!

    I'm so glad you dropped by!! I'm even more glad you shared your heart-felt questions!!

    As a life skills coach I see women regularly with problems accepting compliments!! Part of it is our culture and how we have been socialized!! We are only a couple of generations removed from the old script, "there are two kinds of women, the good girl who you marry and the other kind . . . (implying ill repute!!) Although we now laugh at the cliche' the sentiments are locked in our DNA!!

    So what is the definition of good girl and the kind of women men want marry?? Nice, pleasant, doesn't rock the boat, stands by her man, has dinner on the table at five, cleans like a maniac, takes great care of the kids, never gets angry, is humble, knows how to constantly stroke his ego, (is great in bed) and expects very little in return for all her efforts!!

    Compliments?? Surely you jest!! "What??, next that little wife will expect flowers and a card or something?? No sense spoiling them!! That's how you ruin a good woman!!"

    Another factor is how we were raised!! I was a bright child and my parents were so concerned I would turn out conceited, and that no man would want me (and that was the gold standard of their day!!) that they went out of their ways to ignore my accomplishments!! "Good job," or, great grades, or, you look nice, etc. were not on their parental palette! (Conceit was up there with murder!!)

    So many of us have grown up not trusting the compliments we receive!! Never mind that the compliments are coming from those who truly love us and are telling us the truth!! Our brains/hearts are just not wired to trust what is being said!! So we need to rewire them!! (If we don't, we pass the same issues on to our own children!!)

    Child abuse often factors into not trusting compliments!! Predators are often brilliant at showering their intended victim with verbal flowers!! "You are so special . . . you are the only one . . . you are my world . . . you are so beautiful . . . your hair is like silk . . . your eyes are like pools . . . I can't imagine life without you . . . This is our special secret!!

    And absent of those things, sometimes it just boils down to self-esteem, or lack of it!! We all have an idea in our heads of what being our "best" looks and feels like!! When we feel we are falling short of our standards, doubt begin to creep into our psyche!!

    "I'm too fat!!" "This makes my butt look big!!?" "I never have enough time to fix myself up with the kids needing so much attention!!" "I have let myself go!!" And none of it may be true according to our loved ones!! But the negative self-talk-tapes continue to play over and over in our minds all day!! If our spouse says, "Gee honey, you look great!!" We immediately discount the compliment!! We don't feel worthy!!

    Sometimes we wind up feeling like we are impostors in our own lives!! I often laugh when someone tells me I always look so well put together!! I immediately point out that the leotards under my slacks have holes, I glued my eyeglasses back together with super glue, and I could not for the life of me find two earrings that matched!! Too much information; a simple "thank you" from me would have been fine!!

    Why do you think you have a hard time with compliments?? You don't write like a person who gives out false compliments?? (You never have to accept nor acknowledge false compliments!!) Do any of the above scenarios resonate with you?

    I recommend to all my coaching clients, no matter what the underlying reason for their reluctance, to try accepting small compliments at first!! "Thank you" is a complete sentence!! Savor the compliment!! Enjoy it!!

    Little steps!!

    I would love to hear your thoughts!! In the meantime,

    Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

    Shannon 9 years ago from New York

    Great hub! I was always one who never took compliments well... I am most likely still the same way. I guess I'm not quite sure why, but it is the truth... Compliments never seemed as sincere to me as I suppose they should have. I always feel uncomfortable when someone compliments me...even my husband. Earth Angel, can you tell me why I might be this way?


  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thank you so much WordPlay!! I appreciate the compliment!! Especially coming from you!! Thank you!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • WordPlay profile image

    Carla Chadwick 10 years ago from Georgia, y'all

    How true it is that compliments are like medicine! It's an important point. This a great hub. :-)

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thanks cgull8m!! Your compliments made my day!! Thanks so much for taking the time and interest!! You are soooooooo right about "loud to criticize and silent to praise!!" Thanks for including me!! Blessings and Namate' Earth Angel!!

  • cgull8m profile image

    cgull8m 10 years ago from North Carolina

    Great hub, we need this more and more in our society, all the violence could be avoided if everyone complements and understands other genuinenly. Everyone are loud when they criticize but are silent when they have to praise, if they correct that then there will be peace around. Glad to know you here Earth Angel, keep up the good work. Cheers. :)

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thank you manoharv2001!! Glad you enjoyed it!! Blessings and Namaste'!! Earth Angel!!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thank you DocJim for the wonderful and indepth comments!! I LOVE the passage you selected from the Jules Verne novel!! Thank you!! I am sure that when you compile your own list of compliments, they will stretch from the Earth to the Moon!! Blessings, Earth Angel!! P.S. I also look forward to reading your Hubs!!

  • docjim505 profile image

    docjim505 10 years ago from No. Carolina

    Your comment about how we remember the insults more than the compliments reminds me of this passage from a favorite Jules Verne novel:

    "We have seen what legions of admirers and friends Barbicane’s project had rallied round its author. There was, however, one single individual alone in all the States of the Union who protested against the attempt of the Gun Club. He attacked it furiously on every opportunity, and human nature is such that Barbicane felt more keenly the opposition of that one man than he did the applause of all the others. He was well aware of the motive of this antipathy, the origin of this solitary enmity, the cause of its personality and old standing, and in what rivalry of self-love it had its rise."

    Jules Verne, "From the Earth to the Moon", ch. 10

    I've read - and firmly believe - that many employees would be much happier in their jobs if they got a few more attaboys from their management. People like to know that they are appreciated. Unfortunately, our society is geared toward the negative: we are a people who are taught from infancy to solve problems. The corollary is that we also LOOK for them. It comes easier to us to find what's WRONG with somebody that what's RIGHT with them.

    Your suggestion to make a list of compliments received is a very good one, that I will have to remember for myself and pass along to others when they are feeling down. Good medicine for the soul.

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thank you Gwensgifts!! I appreciate the support and encouragement!! And I send many kind words your way!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Gwensgifts profile image

    Gwensgifts 10 years ago

    Wow, another great hub. How true are these words and you have certainly been blessed with many kind words.

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Hi Sukritha!! Thank you for the nice compliment!! It warms my day!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Blessings to you Zsuzsy, your family and your dear Martha and Wade!! Thank you for sharing your story!! Tears are running down my cheeks!! What a HUGE and profoundly life changing compliment they paid you!! Especially during such a difficult time!! (I have been stalked by an ex- so I relate!!) I am sure your parenting puts a smile on Martha and Wade's spirit faces every day!! I will keep you all in my daily prayers!! Thank you again for sharing!! Blessings always, Earth Angel!!

  • sukritha profile image

    sukritha 10 years ago from Cochin

    Hey Angel, Great hub Really Informative

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Earth Angel! What a Warm and Fuzzy HUB. I love it. You really said it really well that a great compliment can make someone day...or even change their life altogether... I knew this great Couple when we lived in British Columbia, both have been gone for some years now, but I will never forget them...(long time ago, my children and I had taken refuge from my X, at their home ) to understand why his was the best compliment ever you would have to have known these two...They were amazing they raised two children of their own had adopted five and fostered another seven... and helped numerous lame ducks like me along the way...They took us in and protected us. Wade told me on numerous occassions that if they ever needed someone to look after their Rugrats (that's what he called their children) I was the only one they could entrust them all to. I have tried to be the parent that Martha and Wade were. They were so down to earth, Martha and Wade had this night time ritual where they encouraged the children to say a good thing about each other before going to bed. I miss my extra set of parents...

    Thanks EarthAngel for a Great HUB and the opportunity to praise that great couple again

    regards Zsuzsy

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thanks Isabella!! I am sure there is a line of gentlemen just waiting to catch a glimpse of Ms. Naughty!! Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    I love this hub, very unique! And I'd love for someone to compliment my body whilst sitting in a hottub, lol! :))

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    Thank you, Earth Angel. Yes, I still play golf (I caddied throughout the '50s, or I should say I was a "bag carrier." In the last year or so I've almost exclusively played only nine holes. After nine holes the old body tires (maybe even before the 9th.) Years ago, when my daughter was dating a young fellow who (believe it or not) "majored" in golf at a midwestern university I offered her a bit of my personal philosophy: Anybody who plays golf can't be all bad!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    "Not bad," William, "not bad!!" Bing Crosby's high praise to you!! GREAT golfing story!! I come from a family of really good golfers and am the only one who does not hit the links on a regular basis!! Or at all!! I am, however, a wonderful caddy!! My father played golf five-six days a week the last 30 years of his life!! He was able to shoot his age right up until the day he died!! Do you still play?? Thanks again for the wonderful comments!! Blessings on your greens!! Earth Angel!!

  • William F. Torpey profile image

    William F Torpey 10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

    My compliments to you, Earth Angel. Personally, I find compliments hard to deal with. I feel much like my idol, Bing Crosby; as his wife has said, the late singer-actor would say "not bad" when he wanted to give high praise. The compliment I value most was offered a few years ago by a fellow golfer. "That's three times," he said, as I chipped into the 8th hole from off the green while playing nine holes at a golf course in Connecticut. Earlier I had chipped into the 4th hole and I had holed out a putt from off the green on the first hole. (And I'm not what you'd call a "good golfer.")

  • compu-smart profile image

    Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

    As we all know Earth Angel, quality comes before quantity! and thanks for your always warm blessings..:)

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thank you Compu-Smart for the lovely compliment!! I may be slower at turning out the Hubs than most, but they do all come from my heart!! Warmest Blessings, Earth Angel!!

  • Earth Angel profile image

    Earth Angel 10 years ago

    Thanks Jormins for the nice comments!! In this Season of giving, heartfelt compliments can be the greatest gift!! Blessings on your day!! Earth Angel!!

  • compu-smart profile image

    Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

    Hi Earthangel.

    This is very good information, Compliments don't cost a penny and as you say can be like medicine...

    I have to say you always seem to write from your heart:)

  • jormins profile image

    jormins 10 years ago from Chicago, IL

    I think you're right, people do underestimate the power of a compliment. One well timed compliment can easily change one's aspect of the day.


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