Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Your Power and Influence are Stronger Than You Think

The outbreak of Coronavirus has made us feel sad, helpless and even powerless. When we’re in a situation where we can’t control our circumstances, it makes us feel weak and vulnerable.

One lesson we can take from the spread of Coronavirus is how interconnected we are. Here’s how to use our social influence for good in this trying time.

We can ease these feelings of helplessness by practicing self-compassion, orienting towards our sense of purpose, and by looking at the powerful influence each of us has on the world around us (even when we may not be feeling so powerful).

As we help students discover during our Year of More training, each of us has a vast amount of personal power and influence. We each have a great deal of strength and we have the power to affect others around us near and far.

Power is defined as the ability to work and to have an influence. We all have the ability to work and have influence–and it’s by focusing on the influence we do have that helps us build a sense of potency and personal power.

At the Wright Foundation, we define leadership as the ability to influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of others. We all have this ability–we are all leaders, regardless of our position, status, or circumstances. We can all influence others’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

In fact, one silver lining in the current situation is that people are realizing that they’re more important and more influential than they previously thought. We are all connected. In the present circumstances, we can see how our choices affect not only those in our close circle but also those subsequent ripples beyond our immediate social group.

Seeking Social Connections

Because we can’t be with others in person due to social distancing, it’s easy to feel disconnected, separated, isolated, and alone. We may find ourselves seeking a salve for this discomfort—a way to feel less lonely.

For most of us, this salve comes in the form of distractions. We may spend time scrolling through social media. A lot of people are spending time texting and scrolling, liking, and sharing. While these aren’t negative actions, we may find that they don’t connect us to others as deeply as we desire, especially when we really need to feel those warm social ties.

We may also find that we’re reading more news than usual. News sources are reporting huge spikes in viewership as we seek to find a semblance of control over our situation. When we’re disconnected socially, we may feel the urgency to seek guidance on what’s going on in the world—even when the answers are uncertain.

For many of us, text messaging has become the norm for most of our communication, but as we long for more engagement, we may want to hear our friend’s voice or even see their face on our screen. Those moments of social connection nourish us.

Rather than zoning out in distractions, endless scrolling, or just texting, what we really need (and what others need) is real contact—a human voice!  We need the face of a loved one on our screens, sharing a joke and laughing together or comforting each other in our fear. We need to share how much we care about one another. We need to reach out to check in on a family member, a coworker, an elderly neighbor, and even our boss.

Instead of scrolling through headlines or relying just on texts, most of us are finding that scheduling FaceTime calls with our friends or holding work meetings on Zoom helps us feel connected in a more positive way (without experiencing the anxiety and stress from reading the news for the twentieth time today).

For more ways to rethink soft addictions like texting and news-overload, join us on Wednesday for our complimentary webinar on Soft Addictions: How to Break Your Numbing Habits in Turbulent Times.

The Coronavirus outbreak has already changed how we support each other and will continue to do so for a while. When we’re influencing and helping others from a distance, we often need to be more vocal and effusive with our support. We may find ourselves calling our loved ones more frequently, expressing our care and concern more quickly, and feeling a deeper appreciation for our friends.

Once this has passed, how wonderful will it be to take these newfound lessons of engagement and carry them with us into our “normal” day-to-day lives?

“Infecting” One Another with Goodness

If we look at the rapid pace the virus has spread, we can also learn a valuable lesson about influence. Within a matter of weeks, the single action of a stranger can affect thousands of lives. In this case, we’re talking about a virus, but we can apply this idea to the spread of our actions and thoughts as well.

In a study at the University of California Riverside, participants observed a person in a room. After observation, participants’ moods were reported and measured. If the person they had observed in the room was wearing a happy expression, the participant reported a much better mood—even with no verbal communication or contact. Something as simple as the expression on your face can have a powerful effect on others.

Similarly, we all remember the party game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” right? No matter the celebrity, you’d try to connect them back to Kevin Bacon in less than six connections. Well, a few years ago, researchers on Facebook concluded that we’re all separated by only about 3.5 degrees from anyone on the planet—even closer than we previously thought (and we don’t even need to be famous)!

While these studies may bring small comfort when we’re discussing the spread of a virus, the truth is that our choices and attitude also have a viral effect. We can choose to wield that influence for good—even if we’re socially distant.

Researchers studying Social Contagion (Fowler and Christakis) and our connectivity through social intelligence (Goleman), found that our habits, our way of being, and even our moods are contagious. Our very way of being is “catching.”

That also means that for most of us, within three degrees, we are connected to more than 1,000 people that we can influence just by being who we are. Not to mention those that we touch directly or through the viral effect of message spreading on social media.

This may mean sharing positive material with friends online. It could include finding new ways to share our talents, offering words of comfort to loved ones, or finding ways to offer more love and kindness to the world. Just being together in this shared experience can help quell feelings of isolation and loneliness.

When we’re feeling disheartened by the current circumstances, we may also find it helpful to look at the ways our current choices are protecting others. For example, by staying home and practicing “social distancing,” you are actually offering a powerful gift to those in your circle. You’re ensuring they remain healthy and well. You’re also protecting healthcare workers and first responders by keeping medical personnel from becoming overwhelmed in treating the illness. While this may not seem to help someone you know directly, it creates a positive domino effect.

Every time you reach out with care, make a human connection, show concern for the welfare of others, pass on an inspiring or humorous quote or story, acknowledge or compliment a coworker, share deep heartfelt emotions with another, open your heart, have meaningful interactions or conversations, find a moment of gratitude within the crisis—you’re having an influence.

And every little thing you do to keep yourself and others safe during this time—every time you wash your hands, use a tissue to press an elevator button or open a door, disinfect a surface or a light switch, generously tip the delivery person, decline to board an already full elevator—you’re voting for health and wellbeing of all, protecting yourself and others. These are all aspects of care and love. You are making a difference and having an influence.

Mother Teresa said, “We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” I love this quote and hold it as a reminder that little actions can have an outsized result.

We are powerful influencers in our world. During these uncertain times, it’s important to remind ourselves that we each have power and can bring more light and positivity to the world around us.

I hope you join us on Wednesday for our complimentary webinar on Soft Addictions: How to Break Your Numbing Habits in Turbulent Times. Together we will find ways to get through this time to a brighter future.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus:
Self-Compassion During Tough Times

Right now, we are all feeling a lot of emotions—fear, anger, sadness, hurt. The global pandemic of Coronavirus is unlike anything any of us have seen before.

When we aren’t able to reach out and touch others due to COVID-19 quarantines, how can we use self-care and self-compassion to comfort ourselves?

Job futures are uncertain, the economy is on shaky ground, and many of us are working from home, juggling home schooling, practicing social distancing, and simply trying to get through the day.

We hear a lot about self-care, which, yes, is important, but even more crucial right now is practicing self-compassion.

So, what’s the difference? And more importantly, how will self-compassion help us find comfort at this time?

Seeking Security in Uncertain Times

We all have reason to be scared right now.  There’s an almost palpable sense of fear and dread in the world. None of us have faced this situation before. We don’t know what the future looks like with Coronavirus.

Underneath that fear is a yearning for security—to feel safe. As humans, we all yearn to be secure from the time we are born. We look to our parents for security and to feel safe; we learn how to bring a sense of security into our lives by understanding our environment, seeking what is familiar and being able to predict outcomes. As described in Psychologist John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, as we grow up, we learn what and who we can trust to be true. We learn that certainty equals security.

But right now, we’re not going to get the security of knowing how this will all play out. We can’t find the comfort of knowing an immediate answer. So we look to our connections with others to provide us with a secure base and a safe haven. A great deal of security comes from the people we care about and who care about us.

As we’ve discussed, maintaining our deep, essential connection with others is absolutely crucial at this time. Even when we’re socially distancing, we can find creative ways to connect, engage, and reach out with our hearts.

Learning to Hug Ourselves – The Importance of Self Compassion

Most of us are still longing for the physical hugging and connection that we share with our friends. When we touch during a conversation, hug hello and goodbye, and reach out, it soothes us. It helps us feel less alone.

We can also learn to provide this security and comfort for ourselves by practicing self-compassion—learning to treat ourselves with affection, kindness, and tenderness. As pioneering self-compassion researcher Dr. Kristin Neff describes it, it’s giving ourselves the same kindness we would give to a good friend.

Self-compassion means we develop compassion for our own fear and overwhelm; we recognize how difficult this time is, and do our best to be warm and caring to ourselves. We show ourselves the same care we show for our loved ones.

When we feel a longing for physical hugging, we can find ways to self-soothe and offer ourselves some compassion. Bodily comfort is something that calms us and helps us feel grounded. This may mean hugging a pet or even a pillow. It could mean we put a heavy blanket over ourselves, or take a warm, comforting bath.

Now is a time for us to seek things that make us feel better—not just to escape, but to really feed our souls. For many, that may mean turning off the news and avoiding the endless scroll through our social media feeds. Instead of escaping with soft addictions like binging on Netflix, eating junk food, or drowning sorrows in a glass of wine, look for self-compassion methods that uplift us.

Self-care has become a buzzword synonymous with escape and indulgence, whereas self-compassion refocuses our efforts on nourishing our soul. Praying, meditating, listening to beautiful music, and exercise can all be part of self-compassion. Read inspiring books, consume media that uplifts, and elevates.

Self-compassion also means speaking kindly to ourselves and reassuring ourselves that we are not alone, and reminding ourselves that we are strong. We will make it through this tough time. During challenging moments, we can talk to ourselves (using our own name, because we tend to be kinder and more affectionate with others than we are to ourselves). We might say, “It’s okay to be scared, Judith. It’s a tough time right now for everyone, and you’ve been caring for others and serving beautifully. You deserve care and comfort too.” This sweet, positive self-talk helps us feel cared for and nourished.

Let’s set our intention to emerge from this turmoil stronger and even more resilient. Reassure ourselves that our emotions are valid. If we want to cry, it’s okay to cry. If we find ourselves feeling joy, we can savor it without feeling guilty.

While we can’t fix what’s happening right now, we can soothe ourselves and practice self-compassion. Seek those things that soothe, calm, and uplift to nourish us and counteract the negative messages we’re being bombarded with right now.

We can find a sense of purpose by focusing on activities that nourish and strengthen our bodies, minds, and spirits. We will make it through this challenge together!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Purpose in the Time of Coronavirus: The Wellness Boost You Need

Watching the spread of Coronavirus has left so many of us feeling vulnerable these days.

Looking for a wellness boost? Here’s what you can do to keep your mind, body, and spirit strong and healthy as we experience COVID-19.

While we don’t have an answer to the virus, one of the best ways we can keep up our mental, spiritual, and even physical health is to understand the importance of living with a sense of purpose. Purpose is crucial to our wellbeing, now more than ever.

The Benefits of Purpose

In studies carried out amongst nuns (who live their lives with a great deal of purpose), scientists found that a sense of purpose protected their brains against cognitive decline, even when brain scans showed that they had been ravaged by Alzheimer’s.

In another study, a sense of purpose resulted in a 19% reduction in the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. People who reported a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives had Watching the spread of Coronavirus has left so many of us feeling vulnerable these days., more energy, better sleep patterns, a more satisfying sex life, and even lived longer!

The benefits of purpose are HUGE. Even when we aren’t practicing social distancing, working from home, and fighting a pandemic, purpose is vital. But now more than ever, fostering and holding onto our sense of purpose is absolutely critical.

How to Find Your Purpose in Any Situation

So how do we find our purpose, especially when the world feels frightening and so tumultuous right now?

Someone recently mentioned that Shakespeare wrote King Lear when he was quarantined for the plague. As we fight through our own pandemic of the Coronavirus, Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and other artists have been playing songs and offering impromptu online concerts. Broadway actress Laura Benanti reached out to any young theater performers with canceled plays to record and perform them for her.

But what if you aren’t Shakespeare, Yo-Yo Ma, or another award-winning performer? Can you still find a sense of purpose? Absolutely! In fact, I would argue even more so!

Purpose isn’t based on one big act or huge achievement. You don’t need to write King Lear or play the cello. A sense of purpose is cultivated and built in a series of moments. It comes from being mindful and deliberate in each moment. It comes from reaching out with our hearts to those around us!

When we’re isolated or socially distant, it may mean volunteer opportunities are canceled. Church services are postponed. Our yoga studio isn’t open and our friends are sequestered in their homes…but we can still find a sense of purpose.

Find Purpose NOW More than Ever

So, how do we find our purpose during this troubled time?

Reach out! Take this time to connect with others by phone or video. Take a course online. Use this opportunity to explore some of the virtual museum tours available or use Google Earth to take yourself on a virtual vacation. The key to purpose is to find ways to get your yearnings met—and to meet the yearnings of others.

How will you reach out today? How will you connect and engage with others? Purpose is the counterfoil to becoming frozen by fear. Purpose helps us to keep moving forward, even when we’re scared or worried.

If you’re ready to learn more about harnessing your sense of purpose, I want to invite you to join me tomorrow for a special FREE interactive webinar on the Neuroscience of Purpose. From 6:00-8:00pm Central time, we’ll virtually interface, connect, and share ways to bring a greater sense of purpose to your life—it’s something we all need, now more than ever. Click here to register.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Finding Your Purpose During a Pandemic

In turbulent and challenging times like these, it is easy to feel to aimless, anxious, and unsure of the future. That’s why now is the perfect time to discover your purpose.

These years have been difficult for most people. Even though challenging, finding your purpose during a pandemic is possible.

Purpose can bring meaning and joy to everything you do. It can be a beacon to orient to in the darkness and help bring your highest goals, aspirations, and principles into focus.

Even better, tough times can actually help you find your purpose. For example, one of our students is a small business owner who had to shut down her office and have her employees go remote. In doing so, she realized that her purpose was to foster a deeper and more authentic connection with her team members. She set up a virtual after-work “hangout,” where her team could chat, connect, unwind, and share the day’s victories and troubles. Even though her team was far apart physically, her purposeful actions brought them closer together than ever.

So how do you discover your purpose? There are two important things to keep in mind.

Purpose Starts with Yearning

What do we desire deep inside? Kids yearn to matter when they bring you their crayon drawing. Employees yearn to be seen when they do a good job. We all yearn to love and be loved; to be seen, heard, known, to matter, to contribute, to make a difference–all elements of purpose. Purposeful living is fueled by moment-by-moment yearning and full engagement. This will lead you to orient to purpose in everything you do.

Purpose is Found in Every Moment

Purpose isn’t just one big action, an overarching achievement, or a mission. Purpose is lived in each and every moment. The extent that you live purposely in the moment is the extent to which purpose pervades your life and provides rich benefits. Remember, living with purpose isn’t just some grand gesture–it doesn’t mean you have to travel to the Himalayas or become Mother Teresa.

Want to learn more about discovering your purpose? Attend my free, interactive webinar, The Neuroscience of Purpose, on Thursday, March 19 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Click here to register.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: Staying Connected During Social Distancing

Schools are closing, businesses are on hold, stores are empty, and we’re encouraged to practice “social distancing.” It feels like everything is changing so quickly (sometimes even hour by hour).

During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are told to avoid interactions. How can we stay connected during social distancing?

While social distancing may be good advice for maintaining our physical health and the health of our loved ones, it can make our soul ache. Feeling disconnected from those we care about counters our core yearnings—to be seen, to be connected, to love and to be loved.

So how do we cope? Better yet, how do we find ways to thrive during these troubling times? How can we stay connected when we’re practicing social distancing?

Reaching Out with Our Hearts

When we can’t reach out with our arms, we can still reach out with our hearts. Sometimes our presence and caring can actually be more nurturing and intimate than a physical hug.

Being sensitive and empathic starts with being in touch with our own hearts—when we’re aware of our own feelings, we can more easily connect with what others are feeling. As we let our hearts be softened, vulnerable, and open, we can then care more deeply about others. We can connect more deeply, reaching out heart to heart, whether by phone, video, or social media.

It’s not just engaging with friends and family who are close to us, it’s the incidental encounters that matter, too.

When we don’t stop in the corner coffee shop because it’s closed or we only pick up food curbside, we miss out on those little interactions throughout the day that help us engage and connect.

Those loose social ties may seem minor and even insignificant, but studies show they’re critical to maintaining our mood and positive outlook. In one study, commuters who talked to just one person on the train reported a boost from the interaction that lasted throughout the rest of their day. Despite predicting that a conversation with a stranger wouldn’t make a difference (or would have a negative effect on their mood), it actually had a profoundly positive outcome.

Now, in the days of social distancing, we miss out on these types of moments and opportunities, so it becomes even more important that we really reach out with our hearts.

How to Reach Out from Afar

How do we connect with others when we’re social distancing? We can still find many ways to touch those around us. It might mean setting up Facetime, Zoom, or video conferencing with your coworkers so you can SEE and HEAR them. Ask questions of each other, bring in talking points, and foster deeper, more meaningful engagement.

Send photos back and forth—share what you’re doing. Show your coworkers your new “home office” so you can picture each other in your environments, and get to know each other better.

Let your friends know you are thinking of them and you appreciate them. Find creative ways to connect!

You can still go out to dinner with your friends—virtually! Arrange a time to sit down for dinner and enjoy your meal by video. Have a deeper discussion, share your feelings, solve problems together, and toast each other.

On social media, share inspirational posts, music, and stories that touch your heart. Amidst all the news coverage, we need our spirits uplifted and to remind—and be reminded—of what really matters.

Maintaining our strong social connections may also mean reaching out more often to friends and family, not only on social media but also by calling and chatting. Check-in with those who are worried. People are facing tons of cancellations right now, and it’s affecting many livelihoods. It’s a frightening time and people cope with it in different ways. Open your heart to those people. Keep up your relationship and support them.

Finding Beautiful Moments in the Midst of Crisis

We may have social distance between us, but we can still find plenty of ways to foster human contact. While one village in Italy was on quarantine, neighbors began serenading each other from their balconies. Soon, many people were bringing out their own instruments and clapping along to the songs. In Spain, a fitness instructor offered lessons from his rooftop as people followed along on their porches.

It’s these beautiful moments where we see the best of humanity. We can share our gifts and our hearts, even from afar. You can take extra time throughout your day to cultivate your connections as much and as often as possible. Engage with your heart.

Despite feelings of panic and fear, this is a time we can come together—even from a distance—with love, support, and understanding.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Find Meditation Boring? Meditation Tips & Advice to Help

Meditation has been one of the most useful tools for me in terms of concentration, focus, and bringing a sense of wellbeing to my life.

If you find meditation boring, try these tips and tricks to help.

Whenever I share how useful meditation has been for me with a group, I inevitably hear, “but meditation is boring,” or “I can’t sit still and meditate for that long.”

Here’s why meditation is so useful. Follow my meditation advice to help you get your practice back on track.

Is Meditation Boring?

If you find meditation boring, you must be bored with yourself.

After all, meditation distills our focus and concentration to the very essence of ourselves. There’s no other time when we are quite literally entirely in our own head. Often those who complain of “boredom” are really experiencing fear, and anger turned inward. When you’re inside your mind, are you afraid to face yourself? Are you angry at yourself because you aren’t doing meditation “right” or you don’t understand your aim?

When we explore these feelings, we realize boredom isn’t actually boredom.

We’re likely uncomfortable with the realizations and discoveries that come from meditation. We’re looking to the outside world as a source of distraction and a temporary salve. We don’t want to spend time in our own minds.

I hear the same sentiment about soft addictions like TV, shopping, over-eating, and scrolling through Facebook. “I watch Netflix because I’m bored,” or “I go on social media to break up my day.” Once again, we’re often seeking a distraction to bring us back to our comfort zone.

As we remind our students, the most significant leaps in terms of growth and insight occur when we get OUT of our comfort zone. We have to stretch ourselves to explore areas that are challenging, uncomfortable, or even painful. Yet, it is through these growing pains that we make the most progress.

So the next time you complain of “boredom” or think “meditation is boring,” ask yourself what underlying emotions you’re really experiencing. People who are stretching to transform themselves, learning, growing, and breaking out of their comfort zones are rarely (if ever) bored!

Mantra Meditation

For me, mantra meditation is my preferred method of meditation. I don’t subscribe to guided imagery. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done quite a bit of guided imagery meditation, and it’s been useful at certain points in my life. For example, I’ve used guided imagery when I was healing from surgery. But overall, it’s simply not part of my daily practice.

Mantra meditation works very well for me. I go to a quiet place and I repeat my mantra. Of course, my monkey mind (our distracting thoughts and self-talk) kicks in almost immediately, and I lose track of my mantra. Part of the beauty of meditation is learning how to get your thoughts back online—to quiet your monkey mind and bring your meditation back on track.

I love taking this mini-vacation from my regular thinking patterns. Meditation is truly wonderful for me. It helps me gain clarity, and it increases my focus and productivity. During the most productive time in my life, I was meditating for hours each day. It may sound counter-intuitive, but once you can clear the mental chatter, you’ll feel amazed at the results.

Mindfulness vs. Meditation

I hear a lot of people refer to mindfulness and meditation interchangeably. People may talk about their mindfulness practice or becoming more mindful in the context of meditation.

It’s important to note that mindfulness isn’t meditation. It’s a term that gained popularity from Buddhism. One of the biggest proponents of mindfulness is Eckhart Tolle. He sees mindfulness as a cosmic overview—a method of bringing peaceful, spiritual energy into our lives. Now, we can undoubtedly intertwine mindfulness with our meditation practice, but they are two distinct concepts.

Mindfulness is being here and now. It’s about engaging with others and becoming ever more present with others in each interaction. Mindfulness is vitally essential to our wellbeing. Presence and engagement stem from mindfulness.

For us at the Wright Foundation, mindfulness is a dynamic adventure of living a full life. One can be mindful without ever meditating, and one can regularly meditate but fail to live a mindful life. Mindfulness is a component of our aliveness and flow—the vibrancy and engagement we bring into each and every day.

So, if you are hoping to increase mindfulness in your life, meditation may or may not be part of your toolkit. Meditation IS, however, useful practice and something that can help us gain insight into ourselves and our emotions. Meditationand particularly mantra meditationshouldn’t feel like a chore, but rather an opportunity to explore your innermost self.

For more on personal growth, please visit the Wright Foundation. Don’t miss the exciting classes we have available online at Wright Now! These courses are designed to help you discover more about yourself as you move toward the life you want to lead!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Attract Compliments

Do you want to attract more compliments? We all love compliments—valuable currency in today’s world.

Two women embrace, honoring each other's value while learning how to attract compliments.

The other day a colleague shared a video of people complimenting each other. At first, the two people didn’t really know what was going on. The filmmaker asked them to take five minutes and write down compliments for the other person.

Then they read the compliments aloud to each other. It was amazing to see the shift in their intimacy as they received these kind words. Each person lit up the moment they were complimented. It was so tender and beautiful to see their expressions change that I started to tear up.

The power of compliments is their ability to instantly shift our attitude and elevate our mood—so much so that it’s visible across our face. We’d all like to know how to attract compliments so we can receive more of these nourishing and kind words. Here’s why we love compliments and how to bring more good affirmations into our lives.

Scientific Reasons Why We Love Compliments

Compliments act as social currency to our brains. In fact, in scientific studies, participants increased their performance after receiving compliments. They found the compliments as validating and encouraging as monetary rewards. Compliments are powerfully motivating.

Each person yearns to be affirmed, to be valued, to matter, to be seen, heard, and understood. These yearnings are universal to all human beings, and they are powerful drivers in almost everything we do.

When we receive a compliment, it gives meets and validates our yearnings. A compliment tells us: You exist! You matter! You’re important! There’s something I appreciate about you!

Compliments are a beautiful affirmation of our self. They feel good. They warm our hearts and make the pleasure centers in our brain go off, like a hug, a kiss, a kind touch, or prolonged eye contact. In short, they make us feel special.

Our response to compliments goes back to our early childhood. Compliments play a role in how we form a sense of ourselves. We see ourselves reflected from others, and we develop a sense of who we are. “Amy is so resourceful,” or “Tim is so sensitive to the needs of others.”

When children hear these words from adults, they connect them to their identity. They think, “Oh, I’m very capable. I can figure things out,” or “I’m kind to others, and they enjoy being my friend.” Educational training for teachers now focuses on positive reinforcement in the classroom—using these tools of acknowledgment and complimenting to bring out the best in their kids.

Compliments, especially sincere compliments, are extremely powerful. When you really feel the affirmation from the person delivering it, it’s like a big volt from the universe for you and your values. They aren’t minor lip service—compliments are a really really important deal. They feel good, they have a positive effect on others, and they are even a positive power tool.

Compliments to Motivate

Want someone to do more of something you like? Compliment them! What you acknowledge and compliment, people will likely do more often. Compliments really help us influence others.

Most humans like to please others. While we can get too involved in trying to please those around us, at a minor level, it can help us build relationships and connections with others. “Oh, you like that? Well, let me do it again!”

When someone compliments your outfit or the report you wrote, you want to do it again because you received affirmation and reinforcement from the world around you. Compliments enforce behavior in the direction you might like it to go.

In the workplace, many people realize money isn’t always the sole motivator of behavior. Acknowledging good work is very powerful, especially when creating a team-oriented company culture. When we tell others what they do well, they want to keep doing it!

While it’s true, compliments don’t pay the bills; we can still shift the attitude and approach of our coworkers by speaking up and pointing out their good moves. It’s a motivational strategy that doesn’t cost money and pays huge emotional dividends.

Not only do compliments and positive affirmations make for a more pleasant work environment, but they help us feel more positive and motivated too.

How to Attract Compliments

So, now we know why we want compliments and how to compliment others and expand our connection and influence. But the question remains, how do we attract compliments ourselves?

If you want to attract more compliments, you need to engage more fully with others. Put yourself out there. Reflect on yourself more fully and see how others respond to it. It’s amazing how well engagement attracts compliments and affirmation.

When you get dressed in the morning, tell yourself, “I want people to see me today. I want people to know I matter!” How will you dress in a way that is likely to get positive attention? If you grab the least wrinkled, least dirty item out of the laundry hamper, you probably won’t get the response you really yearn for.

If you take the time to choose an outfit that reflects who you are, it’s really important. When you care for yourself enough to fix your hair and polish yourself up, you’re going to draw in compliments. When you receive these affirmations, it’s because you’re being you. It’s sincere, and the words reflect who you really are.

Each of us has beauty inside. When we take care of ourselves, we value ourselves. When we appreciate who we are—show ourselves compassion, kindness, and nurturing—it will show on our outside too.

So, how do you attract compliments? Shine! Speak up! Dress in a way that reflects you and your personality. Share your sense of humor. Tell a joke!

When we engage with life more fully, we will attract others to our joy, our aliveness, and our sense of flow.

How to Relish Compliments

Some people feel uncomfortable with compliments. They may believe that attention reflects how they’re “too much” or “not enough.” This aversion to compliments may reflect their mistaken beliefs about themselves.

You may feel like it’s not polite to attract compliments or that it’s bragging—you might be taking away from someone else or making them feel bad.

We examine this line of thinking in our personal growth programs. What are our stinking thinking patterns and mistaken beliefs that stand in the way of the affirmation we yearn for?

“Oh, I’m not valuable anyway.”

“My brother’s the smart one.”

“My sister is the pretty one, not me.”

“This old thing? I bought it on sale.”

“It’s not a big deal.”

The truth is, we ALL deserve affirmations and compliments. Your compliment doesn’t detract from someone else’s affirmation. It’s really easy to dismiss a compliment, but when we graciously receive the praise, instead, it sends a message to others to keep giving it!

When you receive compliments, accept them. More importantly, savor them! Spend a few moments taking them in. Think about what the person really said to you. You may even want to write it down (or print out a complimentary email)! Keep those kudos in a spot where you can revisit them as a reminder of what a gift you truly are to the world.

We are all so valuable to the world. There’s so much magnificence in each of us that we can put out and have reflected back at us. So go out there and give compliments! When you receive them, savor every last delicious drop, and remember, you absolutely deserve to feel amazing!

For more ways to discover your potential, please visit the Wright Foundation. We offer many of our courses online, including our personal growth courses at Wright Now. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about yourself and seize the opportunities in your life!

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.