Bodies are great. God made us to inhabit bodies; to live in a way that allows us to enjoy and celebrate them. Yet, I wholeheartedly the following two truths:
- Our bodies have value
- Our bodies are not our value
As frequently misunderstood humans who are craving love, our bodies provide an outlet. They allow us to express who we are and translate our passions to the world. The problem is that our world puts far more emphasis on a person’s appearance than their character. It makes sense, and it’s concerning. I doubt I need to cite all the studies that reveal the negative impacts of hyper-fixation on appearance. Even studies are anecdotal when we ourselves have cringed in disgust when looking in a mirror or peering at a clothing tag.
Instead, we ought to fight the temptation to primarily focus on appearances-which are judged by ever-evolving standards in the first place. The best compliments, I believe, are the onesone that intentionally affirm each other’s character and unique gifts.
With that in mind, I present some of the best compliments that aren’t appearance-based. There are plenty of ways to encourage others. I’ve included a few categories, but this is by no means an extensive list (please note: I am not saying that appearance-based compliments are wrong. I merely hope that we (myself included) can focus more on the substance of a person versus their shape, size, or style).
- Your eyes are so vibrant and alive today.
- No one exudes __________ the way you do!
- You have a wonderful way of…”
- Have I told you lately how grateful I am for your…
- I have always admired your…
- Remember that time you and I_____? That was incredibly special for me. Thank you.
- I still have the _____ you gave me. It makes me smile and think of your kindness!
- I treasure the memory of _____ with you. Thank you so much.
- You have a wonderful way of…
- I appreciate the way you…
- Thank you for sharing your _______ with the world.
- I learn so much from the way that you…
- You are an incredible example of someone who is…
- I am so thankful I have met you.
- The world is so much better off with you in it!
- I always leave our time together feeling more in tune with myself and my values. Thank you!
- When you _____ it impacts me so positively.
Where to Go from Here
Great. You’ve read a few lists of nice things to say to others. What now? I suggest that you pick one or two and test them out once a day as you interact with others. As you do this practice, it’ll train your mind to be more intentional about how you perceive others. Personally, this practice is helping me identify things I love about others–their joy, kindness, creativity, etc.–before jumping to external factors such as someone’s hairstyle, outfit, muscular definition, or the flatness of someone’s stomach.
Ultimately, neither appearance nor productivity “gives us” value. Our worth is inherent. And yet, I find it much more encouraging to be affirmed in my values than in the way I look. It’s what’s inside that helps us more deeply convey our passions. So, let’s focus more on that.