As a student, I had just about no luck when it came to awards. Thanks to an attention deficit disorder I had when I was young, I had built such a wall between myself and my academic studies, that I never had one proper notebook’s worth of notes until my high school days. Throughout my entire time at school, the only award I ever received consisted of an award for effort from my second grade homeroom teacher in elementary school. My mother had taught me how to read clocks, and thanks to that, every time my teacher asked me what time it was, I was able to give the right answer. My teacher was pleased, and as he tousled my hair, he told me to keep up the good work and gave me an award for effort. As soon as school was out for the day, I ran home at breakneck speed and proudly regaled my mother with the day’s events.
For a kid who had always been dejected, my teacher’s compliment gave me much encouragement and strength. From that day on, I listened to my teacher faithfully. Then one day, upon hearing the news that he would be working at another school, I ran several miles after him down a newly constructed road and grabbed him as he was about to board a bus to beg him not to go. Judging by how the memory of the one time I received a compliment in school still remains fresh in my memory, it is certain that my brain likes compliments. And I think most people’s brains like compliments.
Compliments are usually a pleasant experience for anyone. It is a human characteristic to try to repeat an experience that is pleasant. Thus, receiving a compliment increases the likelihood that a person will repeat that behavior. Our brain likes the surging of positive emotion that accompanies a compliment, and therefore remembers it better than anything else. According to neuroscientists, when a person receives a compliment, a substance called dopamine is secreted leading to the development of motivation and vitality, and even the immune system is said to be strengthened. Furthermore, giving or receiving a compliment reduces a hormone called norepinephrine, said to be released in the brain when under stress. Indeed, it seems that compliments are a veritable vitamin for maintaining brain health.
However, our society is not so very generous with compliments. Instances of being reprimanded for doing poorly are far more numerous than those in which a job well done is duly noted. Consequently, we aren’t so good at receiving compliments. But I think if the world won’t compliment me, I should compliment myself. We have been incessantly taught to be considerate toward others and compliment them, but when it comes to ourselves, it seems like we’ve learned that being harsh and causing pain is a sign of humility and virtue.
Instead, I think complimenting myself is a form of self-respect. There is much that we can fail in and become depressed with ourselves about. However, no matter how much we repeat our mistakes and failures, as long as we respect ourselves, we can start over again at any time. We can stand up again, and we can have hope.
Just as people who have received their parents’ love know how to love others, those who know how to love and cherish themselves are truly able to love and demonstrate consideration for others. We really need to give ourselves the gift of praise in order to give ourselves joy and encouragement. We put so much effort into our lives. Rather than reproaching ourselves, let us give compliments.