Recently I was in a car accident with a gal that may or may not have insurance. Afterward, 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 of close friends). So I realized that I needed to do something about how I was feeling.
An idea occurred to me to possibly help with these emotions, as well as to find some evidence for a future path through similar aggressive feelings.
I decided that I would roughly concoct a little compliment experiment. An experiment where I would focus on sharing more compliments with whomever I come into contact with, and especially those close to me.
Be Aggressive, Do Nothing Or Compliment?
I once read a psychological study where the researcher set participants up to feel unwanted emotions, and then gave them outlets for processing them.
One group was advised to punch a punching bag, they would then think about blasting someone who angered them with a blow horn. The other group was given a much more low key option, to basically sit and nothing. These were all used to see if one, more than the other were more effective in getting participants out of feelings of aggression.
The study found that acting aggressively did not actually help the emotional processing. They found that doing nothing was actually more effective.
With this information, I have to believe that if doing nothing is more effective at processing anger and other similar emotions, then doing something positive, like complimenting others will be even better.
Complementing Rather more than Critiquing.
I was given the advice one time from my recovery sponsor that “for every critique of a life instance, you should give at least 3 positives.” The relevance of this advice can be seen clearly though, it comes down to building up my relationships instead of tearing them down.
Giving compliments can be an especially difficult thing to do when the energies of painful thoughts and emotions are present. Often times emotions like these are looking to be aggressive, either subtly or blatantly causing trouble for others.
It can be difficult to give compliments when feeling hurt. But it seems that being positive when not feeling positive, can allow for processing of the emotion.
The wisdom of the above psychological study is that emotions aren’t most effectively processed with aggressive intent and action.
What is needed is a better way, which is where complimenting others comes into the picture.
The Compliment Experiment.
Over two weeks time my mission was to be complimenting. I complimented others, myself, and life itself. I ran with the idea of saying 3 complimentary ideas for every critique.
I didn’t perform a study in which I logged each time I gave a compliment or didn’t, or how many were given in each day. No, I simply went out with the mission of giving many more compliments than I was accustomed to and checked in on how I felt at the end of the night.
Results of the Experiment.
Interestingly enough, during the experiment finally found out that the lady that totaled my car in the other week doesn’t have car insurance.
After getting that news, I found it very difficult to give compliments. Offering pleasantries felt against the grain, but I kept the experiment in mind and started looking for opportunities to compliment. I complimented a friend of mine, my wife, and then I just started complimenting myself in my thoughts.
What started out as a very difficult emotional state, eventually worked into me feeling great.
There are some aspects to my impulses that I hadn’t seen quite as clearly before this experiment. First, it is far easier to critique than it is to give compliments. And Second, there is always a compliment to be given if the willingness to do so is there.
This experiment has given a clear method for developing more life satisfaction, and a route to bring me back to being grateful. It taught that it is much easier to feel better when that piece of the brain that is far too critical, gets a chance a shut up.
As well, it showed me that when I’m alone with myself and talking about myself, that it is just as important to be giving myself enough compliments. Quite often, I am my own worst critic, and it is much easier to notice the qualities I enjoy in others when I am grounded in the recognition of my own.
The experiment also showed me a high-quality method for processing my emotions and keeping myself healthy, growing, and becoming more efficient.
That is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in getting the benefits of being a complimentary person. I offer you the challenge of applying what you have read here, as well as experimenting with your own healthy process for using compliments to help find your way into feeling better.
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