Don’t forget to compliment those who complement you

We all have painful inadequacies that make us dependent on others who complement us. Indeed, almost all of life’s important responsibilities require us to work with others.

Consider parenting, the activity that ensures the perpetuation of our species. To have anyone to parent, parents complement each other during both conceiving as well as in rearing. Even in solo activities such as individual sports, say, chess or tennis, players are complemented by their coaches.

When we work closely with others, that closeness can be eroded by two factors: friction and entitlement. Friction is inevitable when people working together will differ over various things, small or big. An entitlement mentality seeps in when we start taking them for granted, believing that they are meant to do what they are doing for us.

Both these dangers can be minimized if we learn to regularly compliment those who regularly complement us. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (17.15) recommends that we discipline our speech so that it is not just truthful and beneficial, but also non-agitating and pleasing. Instead of catching others when they do wrong and criticizing them, we can catch then when they do right and appreciate them. By offering genuine compliments regularly, we can strengthen and sweeten our relationships. Thereafter, whenever any unpalatable truths need to be spoken, it won’t cause too much hurt.

We can exercise verbal discipline in our relationships when we get inner calm and clarity by connecting with the supreme, Krishna. We are his eternal parts – he is the whole; connecting with him complements us. One time-honored way to connect with him is by complimenting him – by speaking his glories in our prayers to him and by sharing those glories with others.

When we compliment the divine who eternally complements us, we can more easily compliment all others who presently complement us.

Think it over:

  • Why do we need others to complement us?
  • How can close relationships get eroded?
  • How can we train ourselves to compliment others?


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Satisfaction comes by knowing ourselves, not by making ourselves known
There is more to us than what faces us
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