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I can live for three months on a good compliment

My friend once said, “I can live for three months on a good compliment” If we take Jason, my friend, literally, four compliments a year would have kept his emotional love bucket at the operational level. `your spouse will probably need more.

good compliment

My friend once said, “I can live for three months on a good compliment” If we take Jason, my friend, literally, four compliments a year would have kept his emotional love bucket at the operational level. `your spouse will probably need more.

To express love emotionally is to use words that build up and not destroy. Proverbs 18:21 says; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it would eat its fruit.”  many couples have never learnt the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other. proverbs 15:1 says; ” soft words turn away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. Proverbs 15:2; ” the tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness”. With the use of compliments, apologises, criticisms, body language, tone, looks and even silence serve “meals” that are either tasty or repulsive emotionally. There is a saying that you should keep your words sweet because you never know when you would have to eat them.

The compliment: On the surface, it’s a straightforward expression, that is mainly designed for the sole purpose of making someone smile and feel better about themselves or something, but beneath the surface lies a ceaselessly chaotic obstacle course. It’s loaded with assumptions, misinterpretations, suspicion, and even duplicity. so suddenly, the seemingly simple process of paying compliments becomes far more complicated. So many couples believe compliments sounds perfect in their minds, but as often surprised the “abusive words” comes out easily than “affirmative words”. Well you have to be extra careful when choosing your words and delivery. Deliver it with the wrong tone and expression and you could be sitting alone in the room wondering what went wrong.

There are words that would just be the best lunch or dinner your spouse needs for that day, words like; “you look very nice” . “you are a good cook”. “you are a blessing to me and this union”. “your contribution to this project really helped me”. “Thank you”. “I could talk to you all day” And so on.

An apology is accepting responsibility and these we find too difficult most times. Many times we turn simple task of saying “ I’m sorry” into a chicken and egg game. Or worse we use it to guilt others or withhold it to hurt.

Do you find yourself actually taking the gift of apology, whether given or received , as your opportunity to “win”? ( if the word “but” is any where near the words “I’m sorry”, you aren’t apologising but trying to justify your act.) Why? Because you are missing the fundamental components of the foundation you need to build for a heartfelt apology that can be felt by the other person and by you!

If you are like most people, your perception of the situation is clouded by the hurt you feel when someone you love is upset with you. It also might be difficult for you to acknowledge and accept your reaction to any situation as being in your control.

 unfortunately, we live in a left-brain-logic controlled world, where the right side of the brain ( passion, creativity, love) is locked up in a prison camp of right and wrong, only engageed when the left brain says “ hey we need to be upset here!”

When we “see” with our hearts, we get side-tracked, applying meaning to every action and inaction, weakening our ability to accept responsibility  for the words we chose to use while under stress or angry. By seeing instead with our minds, we loose our vulnerability  and gain a capacity to receive . Try using statements like “ I’m sorry my reaction hurts you,  I was feeling unimportant to you. I chose the wrong words that made the situation worse. I love you very much, I value you. And I’m deeply sorry my reaction pushed your buttons”.

Remember some people are hard to apologise to, as they take the opportunity to drive home how wrong you were and how right they were. your ability to hold your space and stay focused on the sincerity of your apology is determined only by the strength of your emotional fitness and balance. However, just because you are ready to say “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean your spouse is ready to hear it just yet. A sincere apology does not need response, nor wants one.. Its about you apologising for your contribution to the situation.

 Why is it so hard to say the words we so desperately want to hear? Why? Because you are missing two fundamental components you need to build for a heartfelt apology that can be felt by the other person and you. Respond to any negative comments by staying true to “YOU”. Try these words…..” again I understand. I hear you when you say my actions or words hurt you, and I’m sorry for hurting you. I love you and only want to find a way to move past this. I understand you may not be ready to talk, so know how important this is to me to resolve, and please let me know when you feel better and can guide me to a better place with you”.

 This does not mean you have to forgive and forget in an instant as it would be pretence, you need to heal your hurt too from the inside. However, acknowledge your contribution to the situation, this would free you from residue from the conflict. The easier way to let go is ask yourself one question YOURSELF one question, “ Which is more valuable? The idea of being right , or the relationship?”  Ideas can get a different dozen meanings and you shouldn’t protect them with your “life” or at the expense of those you care abouts. The rules and meanings you put with your actions and words are not always the same ones used by those close to you.

 Avoid seeing other people’s actions through your filter of right and wrong. Remember non of these apologises will work until you are also able to see the part you played in the situation.

Criticism is the practice of judging the merits and faults of something or someone. the act of passing severe judgement, severe disapproval , fault finding. this is what a number of us engage in all in the name of showing concern and  telling the truth in a relationship, if administered on a daily basis, the relationship you care so much about can become poisonous, and the esteem of the individual or spouse receiving the constant criticism  is bruised or damaged resulting to low self respect. when you try to interpret body language, you must say it in relation to what is being said and how its been said with words; otherwise there is great tendency to be misunderstood.

 many elements must agree in other to draw a total conclusion about a person. In order to reach a proper conclusion, you must also pay attention to facial expression, the mouth’s position, eye movements and the pupil dilation and retraction. It has shown by so many researchers that the speakers face is the most reliable source of information about the mood of a person. We see happiness, smiles, surprise, sadness, anger and dissatisfaction  through visual experiences. In other to predict the mood of the speaker you must observe facial muscles . the same features express anger and range, while softer features are taken to express kindness and friendliness. But note; only if the feelings also extend to the eyes. A mouth that smiles without the eyes smiling as well sends signals or falseness and unreliability. 

I conclusively say that praise, appreciation, apology are foundation of a palatable emotional menu. `the trick  is to serve what is called a praise and appreciation  sandwich,  a layer of complements and praise for what has been done well, a spread of the criticism or observation and then round off the sandwich with another layer of praise, served with a joyful, kind and smiling altitude and the right body language.

Enjoy your meal.       Pat Philips Ogedengbe.

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