Compliments and Critcisms

I smiled when I read this meme on Instagram, but then I realised it contains so much to think about. The quote is by Jonathan Edward Durham @thisOneoverhere on Instagram.

I was talking with a client about compliments this week and they mentioned that they were very uncomfortable with compliments.

How are you at handling compliments? Is it easy for you? Or do you struggle with hearing positive feedback? All you need to do when someone compliments you is to say, 'thank you'.

The Gottman relationship experts suggest we turn complaints or criticism into requests in our relationships. Next time you are tempted to criticise someone, notice it, and switch to a request instead.

If you are in the receiving end of a complaint, try reframing that - often what the person was needing was the opposite.

In my family my brother complained that I never remembered one of his anniversaries. So the next year I made an entry in my diary to connect with him in that day. He said he was really grateful and we ended up closer because of me reaching out on that day.

Often the longing for connection is hidden in criticism.

So your challenge, should you choose to accept it... see if you can say 'thank you' to a compliment, and see if you can find the longing in the criticism.

Journalling Prompt:


In your journal, explore compliments, write about how you felt in the moment, and how you responded. If you'd like to create an art journal maybe you could find some words to cut out in a magazine, that describes your feelings. Use a circle in the centre of the page and draw colours or shapes and write around the edge.


In your journal notice when you criticise, are you actually really wanting something that is hidden behind the criticism? Can you tell what it is?

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