September Practice: Pay Compliments

yellow heart with rays in orange sphere with "practice" to right

To ponder
A compliment is more than something nice you say to someone. It demonstrates what you value and also strengthens that quality in yourself. Here are ways to practice.

To try
In Energize Your Heart in 4 Dimensions, Puran and Susanna Bair say there are three parts of a compliment: "First, be completely positive and leave out any implied putdown. Second, state the observable evidence that supports the compliment, and third, connect the compliment to the person's heart, to make it clear you're talking about the person, not their job or behavior." For example: "I love to work with you; you make people feel they can succeed, because of your consistent optimism."

More ideas
In Leap Before You Look, Arjuna Ardagh challenges us to compliment strangers. "Go into a place where there are people you do not know: A shopping mall, restaurant, bank, or park. Compliment three people you have never met. 'I love your nail polish. Thank you for the radiant presence you bring to your job. You have beautiful eyes.' Approach an old couple and tell them how much love you can feel between them. See how far you can step out on a limb in spreading into this world a little more irrational generosity. Do not upset anyone, but equally do not hold back. Step beyond the habitual limits of socially acceptable restraint."

Your turn
What is one of the best compliments you’ve given or received?

This practice was developed for the Fetzer Institute by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, directors of Spirituality & Practice.