Welcome back to My Life Experiment! So in my last post “Totaling the Car and Gaining a Lesson” I touched on how i was going through a rough time dealing with getting my car totaled by someone that might not have insurance. Ive been going through this, as well getting charged for an extra months rent at the old apartment after missing a deadline by a couple of hours. Over Christmas i started realizing that the emotions I was feeling were making it too easy to get snippy with those close to me (such as my wife and a couple close friends). So I realized that I needed to do something about how I was feeling. A solution that came to me is that I am going to focus on sharing more compliments with whomever i come into contact with, and especially those close to me.
I was given the advice one time that “for every critique you have to give you should say at least 3 positives.” This an especially difficult thing for me to do when I have something that is painful to process. I certainly see the relevance of this advice though, it comes down to building up the my relationships instead of tearing them down.
It can be difficult for me to give compliments when feeling hurt. It seems like being positive when not feeling positive, forces me through processing the emotion. Also, acting out on the painful feeling is an attempt to process it, but an attempt that is mostly a fruitless one. I once read a psychological study where the researcher set participants up to feel unwanted emotions, and then gave them outlets for processing them. The options given were to either knock around a punching bag or some other object, or to basically ride it out without the option of aggression in getting a participant to a more positive emotional place. The study found that acting aggressively did not actually help the emotional processing, and that doing nothing was actually more effective. I don’t believe its a stretch to say that if the participants were set up to give compliments after having the emotions pulled up, that it would be more effective than either aggression or doing nothing.
So my experiment over the next couple of days is to amp up the amount and quality of compliments i offer up, and see what kind of differences I feel as a result. I am hesitant to give out more compliments, since part of me is wanting to lick its wounds and emotionally hide instead of move on to the next right thing. But ultimately what i really desire is to move forward with my life and focus on building myself and others up.
In my next article i will let you know how the “Compliment Experiment” goes and then we will move on to whatever experiment comes to mind next! So come back and join me in my journey as I seek more knowledge on how to live my life as effectively and enjoyably as possible!