My New Year’s ‘Conflict’ Resolution No. 4: Pay someone a compliment!



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Your fourth New Year’s ‘Conflict’ Resolution – should you choose to accept it – is to pay someone a compliment. Just like giving someone a Christmas present makes us happy, paying a compliment can give us a boost of oxytocin – the brain’s love and comfort drug – which improves our mood and makes us optimistic. It also improves our relationships!

But just as it’s important to smile by accessing a positive memory or by moving ourself into a more positive state of mind (see My New Year’s ‘Conflict’ Resolutions 1 and 2) it’s important that the compliment is genuine and heart-felt.

Having trouble paying a compliment? Here are are three steps to make it easier!:

1.Start with someone you love. Pay a compliment to a parent, your spouse or your children at the start of the day.

2. Be genuine. The difference between a compliment (genuine) and flattery (creepy) is that a compliment is specific whereas flattery is generic. Instead of saying “You look nice,” notice something good or different about your loved one and highlight it: “That new shirt really suits you.”

3. Just as when you first start to smile at people they may not smile back, accept that your compliment might initially surprise rather than please; just as in giving a gift you expect nothing in return, remember a compliment is free. “That new shirt really suits you” followed immediately by “That reminds me – can you empty the dishwasher?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

So try this: Notice something good about someone you love; say something nice (smile!) then just move on without expecting anything in return. It gets easier with practice – makes you feel better, improves the recipient’s day and strengthens your long-term relationship.

Another New Year’s ‘Conflict’ Resolution that you can keep throughout the year!


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