I really enjoyed this task. I love giving sincere compliments and I don’t (usually) find it difficult. What I noticed today though was that a number of my compliments were about appearance – one woman had some beautiful dark navy nail varnish that complemented her clothing; another a lovely soft jumper that suited her wonderfully; the third was wearing a colourful scarf that she had apparently found in a charity shop; and the fourth had a short spiky hairstyle of the most wonderful shades. However what surprised me is that how someone dresses or looks is not something that particularly interests me; nor do I think of myself as especially observant. Did I notice because of the task, or am I actually more critical of appearance than I think?

So what else did I notice and what compliments did I give? I try to be specific rather than giving general compliments and told someone that I admired the hard work that had gone into cleaning a patio that had been covered in moss – the cleaning had been done conscientiously and showed off the beautiful stone underneath. I also complimented some young friends who dealt extremely skilfully with their toddler who was screaming after being refused a toy in a supermarket. Being a parent is not always easy and I admired the way that both parents remained calm. What struck me was their love for their child, and also their ability to provide a clear and shared response in what potentially a very stressful situation. Finally I thanked a receptionist for being especially helpful – in my view, doing more than was required.

It is important to me that I am as honest and authentic as I can be, and so I am always careful of making sure that any compliments I pay are genuine. I see sincere compliments as a form of kindness that I hope are appreciated by the recipient but that also make me feel good. I try not to go overboard as this can make people feel awkward, and also try to ensure that the context is appropriate.

Tomorrow is another day and I look forward to other opportunities for kindness, and to increase my happiness at the same time.