The Power of Kindness Through Compliments

“Wow! You look fabulous today!”
“You inspire me every day!”
“Your smile brightens up my day!”
“I loved your article on the PTPA blog!”

I am pretty sure you’ve received at least one, if not all of these compliments.

“A compliment is verbal sunshine” – Robert Orben

A compliment is an expression of praise or admiration for someone – anyone!

Every human has a basic need for recognition and being appreciated. It encourages them, motivates them to be better. Compliments can be powerful because the emotional gain is tremendous.

Even in the business context, compliments are proven to increase productivity and commitment, energizing the recipient and helping build a happy workforce.

I learned the impact of complimenting from my Mom, who had a warm heart and always had an encouraging word for everyone she met.

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ~ Mother Teresa

Compliments are more important than ever today, what with the rising tendency to be negative or over-critical. As positive reinforcement, they can be a turning point in someone’s life. I remember a conversation with one of my teachers in college, when she said, “You have the ability to succeed in everything you attempt” and that stayed with me in my heart.

What is it about compliments that fills us with that warm glow inside?


  • Are feel-good
  • Lift our spirits
  • Help connect with others positively
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Make you feel less lonely
  • Take the focus away from you
  • Trigger creativity
  • Build trust
  • Are like positive boomerangs
  • Make people smile, and smiling burns calories. Really!

Besides these,

  • Compliments encourage those who are struggling. Positive feedback is a great motivator and propels people towards achieving their goals.
  • A compliment can make the difference between success and failure, bridging that gap between going on enthusiastically and giving up.
  • Compliments help children learn quicker.
  • Compliments convey respect.
  • Compliments can help break the ice.
  • Compliments win over people, increasing our circle of influence.
  • Compliments make you less cynical.

And the no.1 reason?

Compliments are free.

They cost nothing, while their impact is huge.

Sadly, even though compliments are known to have a positive impact for the giver and the receiver, most people tend to be stingy with them. No one can deny that compliments make our day, regardless of whether we know the giver or not. Why not make a difference and make the effort to lift each other up, encourage each other?

It is possible to build a wave of positivity simply by appreciating someone; all it takes is a few heartfelt words. Everyone has something praise-worthy – one just has to look.

Here are some tips to be a great compliment giver:

  • Pay attention and be fully present, as you look for opportunities to compliment.
  • Notice the small stuff and compliment, no matter how trivial the accomplishment is. Their smile? Their outfit? Their handwriting?
  • Be generous, be sincere.
  • Be specific.
  • Be straightforward.
  • Each time you get a compliment, give one in return whenever you can.
  • Be vocal. Don’t assume the other person knows.
  • Try and compliment someone in front of others. Adds to the joy.
  • If you hear praise for someone who is not around, let them know.
  • Avoid giving backhanded compliments. You know, the ones that go, “Considering your age, you look good” Ugh.
  • Avoid saying things you don’t mean.
  • Don’t fake a compliment.
  • Don’t overdo it.
  • Don’t delay, or you’ll forget.
  • Cultivate the habit of complimenting.

Of course, it goes without saying that receiving compliments graciously also matters a great deal!

Action points:

  • Resolve to compliment five people every day. These can be family or friend, co-worker, some place you go to regularly (supermarket, restaurant, laundry), someone younger than you, a stranger etc.
  • Each day, take five minutes to reflect on someone you know, who does things well and let her know you appreciate her. Do it with words.

Your compliments will make the world a happier place!

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible! – The Dalai Lama

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Comments (25)

  • It’s funny how even people who “snuff” compliments or appear awkward when they receive them…will enjoy and reflect on them later! Even if you don’t get the most positive reaction, complimenting someone often makes their day. Great post Vidya, thanks for the reminder!!

  • I absolutely love this post Vidya! What a great way to inspire and remind people about the simplest way to make them feel good, through a simple compliment. I think sometimes we underestimate the value of the simplest “thank you” or “I love that on you” or “you look great today”! It’s enough to jump start anyones day!

  • Be kind and you’ll be treated kindly 😀

  • Yes, yes, YES! I completely agree with this post. I have personally enjoyed building others up with compliments and kind words. Even when it appears to be impossible, there is ALWAYS a positive that can be highlighted. Fantastic post!

  • Thank you Rachel! You are right, I have a living example of that in my aunt! She’s grouchy but we’ve all noticed how she softens when she’s praised. And she’s very praise-worthy – just not pleasant 🙂 Compliments are always welcome. ♥

  • Indeed, Sharon! ♥ Thank you. Best part is, it is easy to do!

  • That’s the sacred truth, Liam! Thank you !

  • Thank you Lyn! I love how my son has picked up the habit from my Mom – never fails to appreciate it each time someone does something for him. It is great when children learn the power of kindness.

  • What a positive read! Have a wonderful day everyone! 🙂

  • I’ve never been good at taking compliments, for me it’s unwanted attention if the compliment is about my outfit, hair, weight lose ect. I’m not really sure why. But thank you for the tips on giving better compliments, I can definitely work on that!

  • I always feel awkward when people give me compliments, but Im always the first one to compliment someone else. I believe in the power of positivity, and that positive vibes can be spread from one person to another, so Im always making sure to compliment or say nice things to people, to smile. Im glad to read this and agree wholeheartedly, if more people took the time to compliment eachother it could go a long way

  • Often a compliment can be the kindest thing you can give someone.
  • I love this post. I have never been good at receiving a compliment. I love to give them but I always feel shy when someone gives me one. I am getting better at receiving them the older I get.

    Lori Humphrey
  • Love and Kindness win every time!

  • Being kind is something more people should do on a daily basis. The world would be a better place with more people being kind to one another.

    sherry blamer
  • Love this post! Everyone, no matter whom you are/where you are in this world we live in, love to have something nice said about them! “Wow that sweater looks beautiful on you” “your smile lights up any room” “Love your hair” Everyone needs a pick-me-up every now and then! A little kindness goes a long way! Make someone’s day, today… 🙂
    Great post Vidya,

    Anne Stevenson
  • I love this post! Its amazing how a few words can change someones day.

    Sarah C
  • thank you for sharing your very inspirational story

    margo b
  • Thanks for your post. Very inspiring. It’s always nice to receive or give a compliment. My daughter gave me one the other day saying mom you look like you lost weight. Makes you want to keep going. thanks for reminding us kind words have an impact.

    Leeanne c
  • Compliments can be confidence boosters! If you are having a “blah” kind of day, a simple “That color looks great on you!” can really turn around your whole day/attitude!

    Yolanda Perez
  • I have no problem giving compliments, I just get all sappy when or if I get a compliment!

    Alayne Langford
  • Often times when compliments are unexpected and genuine, it really warms the other person’s heart and brightens their day.

    Melinda Jana
  • I’ve always believed in the power of compliments. Though I don’t always feel like I deserve them when I get them, or I don’t always know how to respond, I am always giving compliments to others. Especially people who I don’t have the greatest relationship with. Kill them with kindness. That’s what I always say. But even with my family, friends and acquaintances, I am always super friendly and compliment them often. Or praise them for good doings, or whatever.

  • This is a great article! Would should all remember that compliments don’t cost a thing so feel free to give them away all the time!

    Stephanie M
  • Thank you for this post, very inspiring!

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