This week’s exercise was to give someone close to you a true compliment once a day.  OK, so I know it sounds weird, but I actually had a lot of trouble with this.  I thought of plenty of really nice things to say about people I know, but when it came time to actually say them, I felt like it would sound awkward.  Lame, right?  Of course, my fears weren’t justified.  When I did go ahead and say nice things to people, no one looked at me funny.  On the other hand, I did once or twice get the shrug or the “oh no, it’s nothing” response: the way we’ve all been trained to respond to compliments by diminishing their importance.

And that’s part of what this exercise is about.    When you focus on giving compliments, you see how little we give them and how unable we are to effectively receive them.  Why should that be?  And why is it that it’s easier to give a compliment to someone we don’t know very well, but we almost never compliment our closest friends or partners?  Shouldn’t it, if anything, be the other way around?  We take our loved ones for granted because they’re always around.  But they’re the ones who will be here for the long haul, and we need to keep those relationships strong.  Compliments are a great way to do that.

Another aspect of the exercise was to be aware of when you receive compliments and how they make you feel.  A few compliments from this week really stick out.  One friend in particular said almost exactly what I needed to hear when I was starting to doubt myself.  It turned my whole day around.  And I certainly didn’t think she was being awkward.  So now I know: give those compliments, even when you’re not sure how it will sound.  It might just make someone’s day.

This week’s exercise is “Mindfulness of Posture: throughout the day, become aware of your posture and how your body feels, also correct your posture if necessary.”