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How to Make Super Nice – Sharing Secondhand Praise

Face to  face compliments are easily discounted, particularly those from parents or to bosses. Passing on another’s  praise is not so easily brushed aside.



All parents should read this post. Why? Well, I knew my youngest was entering the teen years although he was only eleven. How?  I praised him and he groaned.

Then he said: “You’re just my Mom.”

Ouch, but some  good side, for it hinted that he might believed I loved him despite any bad behavior. Down side, he was now discounting compliments. Not good for self-esteem and meant he might be missing out on lots of other compliments.

So parents, look for the nice things others say about your child and pass them on.

Bosses and all others in authority also discount compliments and because many people make nice to “suck” up. The boss above may  have missed or discouned sincere compliments. Again, passing along second-hand praise works best as a compliment.

Emotional fitness training Tip

Emotional fitness tip one: Always, and I mean always, pass on second-hand compliments or praise.  (Well, maybe not about”How much stronger the local bully is than you are” when he is trying to pick a fight.)

Otherwise, pass on every nice thing you hear another person saying about someone you know. The old chewing gum motto “Doubles the flavor, doubles the fun,”   triples the value of praise.  Three people profit:  you, the person you share the praise with, and the original complimentor.

Emotional fitness tip two:  Be sure to remark on how you agree with the original compliment.

Emotional fitness tip three:  Whether sharing a first or second-hand compliment if brushed off, I always, say something like “I mean what I say, take it in.”  That is not so necessary when you can find some secondhand praise to pass on but if the compliment gets shrugged off, a good strategy.


Sincere compliments are a way to practice deliberate kindness.  Second-hand compliments extend the kindness.  Kindness is one of the Daily Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises and compliments are one way to go down the kindness path.

When I walked the mean streets of the Bronx and Manhatten, I got great pleasure from complimenting strangers and from their response I felt praised and grateful for the  smile and thank you I got in return.

Here is one of my EFTI Free Poster Coaches about practicing kindness.

Practice Kindness Emotional Fitness Poster Coach

Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness is blesses the giver and the receiver.




As noted above, this inspired me to write about second-hand compliments. However, I also recall overhearing two friends saying,”Her face lights up when she smile.”  I don’t know if they were talking about me, but some part of my heart thought they were and that off-hand over heard comment, erased the shyness created by an over bite.  I smiled more and as smiles make you happy as well as who you smile at happy, I was not the only one benefitting..

EFTI Free stuff

Browse the EFTI store for a free downloads of emotional fitness tips, exercises, quotes all designed to improve your #emotionalintelligence. The poster coaches are best used printed up in color on card stock and then posted where seen often and serving as you personal staying strong, emotional fitness  coach.

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Three Ways to Shrug Off Nastiness

Three Ways to End Hurtful Discussions

Another’s stupidity or angry ranting always pushes you to raise your voice and fight back; but fighting angry yelling by yelling back never works. Never.

The louder one yells, the less one is heard, the more anger grows.

Image by http://funny-pictures.picphotos.net/

Emotional fitness thoughts and tips

We are told to “Let it all out.”  Not good unless done the way Aristotle suggests in his famous quote: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”

What to do?  The following three  tips are based on both the wisdom of the aging and the most current research about how to follow Aristotle’s advice:

Emotional Fitness Tip One:  The angrier you or another are, the more important to respond softly and with compassion. Anger always covers hurt or fear.  Always. Responding to the hurt or fear diminishes anger and makes finding a solutions more likely.  When that seems impossible, take a time out.

If a time out  is not possible, such as, when  a boss is ranting at you; listen without responding except to say “Yes” when you can agree.

Emotional Fitness Tip Two: Strong self-soothing skills make soft and compassionate responses more possible. Try this one:

Soft face poster

Such exercises only work if practiced diligently and at first when not angry.  EFTI’s self-soothing exercises are designed to be practiced quickly so they can be put into play over and over again each day.  Go here to learn four of the easiest. 

Emotional Fitness Tip Three: Stay safe.  Know how to defend yourself if physical attack seems likely. If I could wave a magic want over our educational system, it would be to include Peace Dojos teaching conflict resolution and self-defense as required courses beginning in kindergarten.  Many colleges require passing a  swimming tests in order to graduate.  I would like all high school graduates and GED holders to be required to have a certificate of accomplishment from a Peace Dojo before moving on to college.


Remember what matters: view anger as a signal  something is wrong.   Start with yourself.

As  most of what makes us angry starts in our feelings about ourselves, ask “What is hurting me.”

Are you jealous? Jealousy is a major source of world violence and that includes jealousy of those who seem smarter, happier, or in almost anyway better than we feel we are.

Then there is fear we might become like someone not valued by others: think of anorexia, homophobia not to mention not wanting to be over 30.

Being a sinner or seen as a sinner is part of this type of fear. This fear or worry is  part of religious divides. But is also part of each person’s personal idea about what is moral behavior.

For the religious fear of sinning can lead to fanaticism, but also to failed efforts to stay good. Wonder why sometimes the most religious fall from grace? Think of priests, ministers, or rabbis who commit adultery or worse abuse children.  Knowing their darker sides, they tried to stay strong thought faith, but failed.

Also,  remember we all want to be in control.  We believe our fate is in our hands, particularly in Western culture that constantly tells us “Just do it,” or “Follow your dream.”  Fact: We do not control all.  When our control is threatened, our anger grows.

The failure of control is  part of our  righteous indignation when we see an obvious injustice.

Another  question to ask yourself when angry, particularly about what you see as an injustice against another is to ask youself  who you “identify with.” Who grabs your heartthe  most.

These are the questions one must also think about when anger is growing in another.  Some when seeing an underlying cause of another’s anger are tempted to speak about that. Don’t. Instead, wait until the person’s ranting and anger seems to be cooling down a bit. Then ask, “What can I do to help?”

I hope all the above helps you deal better with anger. If so, think of sharing it with someone who can make good  use of it and who will not feel you are attacking them.

As always for all you do, thank you.



Get a free digital download of Soft Face and Strong Body. Then post it where you will see it and it will remind you to practice this amazing self-soothing exercise.


Word Press Daily post prompt

This  DAILY POST Prompt  inspired this blog post: Discussion Enders; We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.

My response?  Zingers only fuel anger and there is too much anger and too mucn taking even petty revenge by zinging someone.




Come the weekend, and many will be lifting their glasses high, getting high. Fact: I love vodka straight  on the rocks; I suspect a Russian gene crept into my DNA.

Lattee addiction. Having confessed my love of vodka on the rocks, don’t think I am an alcoholic. Nor am I addicted to latte’s.  I confess to being a social media addict, nothing more.  We all have addictions, some more harmful than others. This post is about addictions that harm your body – mainly drinking and drugging.

Why this topic?  While I like my vodka,  I do not like the hard sell of drinking that is part of today’s culture.  Drinking moderately is probably safe, but not in moderation and harm accrues.  But alcohol is profitable and the sales pitches constant.

You can label me a cranky old lady on that one, I won’t mind  as long as you think a bit about the contents of this poster and this blog post.


And yes I have a gun; I am a better shot than hubby. and that is why he keeps the gun locked up and hides the key from me.  Wise man.

Emotional Fitness Thoughts

I have been drunk once in my life and once was enough; I got sick as a dog.  One way to sort those with an addiction to drink from those without one is what happens if too much drink goes down their throats.  Getting sick does not stop those whose drinking is a problem.

I am also lucky in that I have a built-in stop drinking signal. My upper lip gets numb when I have had enough. The one time I got sick from drinking was when I did not heed the numbness.

Four things fuel my rants about drinking and drugging addictions.

First? Coming  from a long line of drunks AA groupies, call the genetic basis for becoming an alcoholic.  Do my family tree and for generations some have always had the kind of problems with self-control that meant addiction of one sort or another.

My mother’s father reportedly drank 30 coke a day.  His wife was a teetotaler and that often goes along with one or another chemical abuse.  My hunch was when cocaine was no longer found in Cokes, he switched to drink, but minimally,  if my mother’s account was accurate, he was   a caffeine addict.

At least one relative literally drank herself to death. A number of others were what many call functional drunks.  These drink or drug way too much, but keep up a front. Some of these only get drunk periodically come the weekends or “festive” occasions. Sad to witness.

Second? Being a therapist meant  I often was called upon to quell the damage addictions wrought, but also realizing how difficult it was to bring about change.

Third?  Becoming a foster mother. Most of the kids placed with us were in teens in trouble with the law; many were addicts of one sort or another. As a foster parent,  I attended Alanon and found it both helpful and not helpful.

Fourth?  When we stopped being foster parents and I returned to work full-time as a mental health professional, the Harm Reduction movement had just begun. As part of that movement, I stumbled onto Motivational Interviewing. Than encounter inspired my Safe Drinking Rules Poster.


Emotional Tip One: Know the risk factors.  Three factors put someone at risk of becoming an addict.  The first? Genes. The second? Cultural attitudes toward drinking, but particularly towards drunkenness. The delight Western youth seem to take toward getting bombed puts most young in Western culture at risk.  Finally? Daily use.  One of the reasons the Safe Drinking Rules say to limit your drinking to four days a week is to prevent building up tolerance and in time drinking more and more.

Emotional Tip Two: Worried? Spend a month abiding by the safe drinking rules.  The rules can be adapted for drugging, for gambling, for all addictions including addictions to risk taking or anger.  The more you slip, the more you need to worry that your addiction is getting out of control.

Emotional Tip Three: If you or someone you care about is showing signs of addiction try a Twelve Step program. These  are worth exploring as you can usually find a meeting near you or on-line and cost you nothing but a pit of time. Most  suggest attending six meetings and  to spend your time listening  and learning.  That is also a useful phase for introducing yourself  at a meeting.  Finally, keep an open mind, as one Twelve Step Motto suggests “Take what you need, leave the rest.”

Emotional Fitness Tip Four:  Consider therapy. With addictions seek a counselor who uses a Harm Reduction or Motivational Interviewing approach. That is what I wold do.  I would also look for someone who set SMART Goals early in the therapy process and asked for feedback from you at each session.


Practicing a daily emotional fitness exercise program strengthens  your ability to  dealing with addcitions.  EFTI combines elements of  Twelve Step Programs, Motivational Interviewing, common sense as well as  research based cognitive behavioral practices known to improve emotional intelligence. I think mine are Gold Medal Winners.  Why?  Four reasons:

  1. Each is easy to learn and easier to practice.
  2. You can practice each one multiple times every day. The more you practice the easier each becomes a healthy habit.
  3. You can layer them, meaning you can practice two or even three at the same time.
  4. When learned and strengthened, each exercise soothes all emotions trying  to try boss you.

For all you do to share and care, thank you.  If you like what I say “clap your hands and show it” by liking, commenting, or sharing.


This post was inspired by this Word Press Daily Prompt – Pick Your Potion:Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

My response? Detailed above.

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