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Compliments: Turn The Light Back On

According to a Hawaiian story, each child is born with a perfect bowl of light. The light represents her true essence. When a child grows and learns to respect her light – then she will grow towards her highest state of being. However, if she starts to distrust the world around her and resists the light because of fear, shame, guilt, the light begins to dim. Every time she resists the light, she drops a stone into the bowl until the bowl becomes full of stones and her light goes out.

Today, on National Compliment Day, I thought of this story and realized that compliments are a way to turn the light back on – for ourselves when we receive them graciously and for others when we give them sincerely.


Compliments when given sincerely manage to reach a person’s soul. Fake compliments are pretty easy to spot – sometimes given when a person wants something from us, and often when the person wants to be complimented in return. To my mind, false compliments and what my nephew called ‘airy-fairy’ kisses go well together! 😉

Also, authentic compliments don’t need a lot of explanation – they’re simple and when given in person they’re accompanied with a warm smile that reaches the giver’s eyes. It’s not for nothing that compliments are known as ‘positive strokes’ – they have the ability to make people feel good about themselves.

Having said that, some of us have a hard time receiving compliments. I think receiving a compliment graciously takes practice too.  We need to take them with open arms, not feeling the need to put ourselves down or be pressured to return the compliment. The best way to receive a compliment would be to say a sincere ‘Thank you’ with a warm and open smile.

So every time to you give a compliment, do so sincerely, remembering that you’re helping to remove a ‘stone’ from someone’s bowl of light and don’t resist the light yourself – take compliments graciously and let your light shine!

Remember this, dear readers:

You are Beautiful



  1. Suzy Suzy February 7, 2014

    When we accept compliments graciously the Universe gives us more when we don’t we send a message that we are not worthy of compliments or don’t want any and the Universe always obliges – my belief. The Hawaiians were very spiritual people. Like Vidya I love the Hoʻoponopono mantra.

  2. Li-ling Li-ling February 4, 2014

    What a beautiful story! If only we could always be aware of the the wonderful light that children are and allow them to shine as brightly as they can in their own ways. There is so much truth in the story.
    Heartfelt compliments are so up-lifting and simply add more light to the world.

  3. Pratikshya Mishra Pratikshya Mishra February 1, 2014

    didn’t know about this story… nice one..
    The big compliment I consider the greatest one in my life is that- someone somewhere draws inspiration from me… may be just one person or may be many…so for that unknown person atleast, I should never underestimate myself..

  4. Melissa Melissa January 31, 2014

    Oh how I love this post ahahaha! I’ve been reflecting on how I react to certain things. I realized that no matter how strong we have built our characters, we still need others to support us. We need first and foremost, to compliment ourselves ~ in just the same manner that you wrote it ~ we have difficulty accepting our inner beauty. It would really be easy afterwards to see and compliment others when we have that love inside us.

    It’s the first time I read the bowl of light ~ I guess that’s the perfect shape we ought to be~ receptacles of beauty and grace… open to give and receive 🙂

    Thank you ~ love it ~ even the airy-fairy kisses ahahaha!

  5. Pratibha Pratibha January 30, 2014

    I loved the story and yes I fall in the category where I just cannot take a compliment without the thought that there MUST be a motive behind it 🙁

  6. G Angela G Angela January 30, 2014

    Corinne ! this is so true, inspiring and beautiful ! Its always a pleasure to read your post. Thanks for sharing !

  7. Sulekha Sulekha January 29, 2014

    Love the introduction to your post, a beautiful story. I had a hard time accepting compliments but was fine at giving them, but only when I meant them 🙂 I am an open book and the joy or displeasure on my face can be spotted from miles away. So when I tell someone that I like his/her work, I really do…I also smile and say thank you, when someone compliments me. Loved reading your post, thanks for sharing.

  8. vishalbheeroo vishalbheeroo January 29, 2014

    Absolutely love the pearl of wisdom the Hawaiian way about life. I feel it’s so true and one can easily distinguish between the fake ones and genuine souls. Thanks a ton, Corinne for this one and gonna share on FB.

  9. Sheela Sheela January 29, 2014

    Compliments cost nothing, so why we hesitate to compliment sincerely?
    On this Compliment day I can’t stop admiring Corinne and Vidya for bringing the blogging community together through various writing exercises and prompts….Thanks a lot WRITE TRIBE…

  10. Bhagyashree Bhagyashree January 29, 2014

    So true Corinne. one must know both-to give and to receive.
    I remember once I had complimented a certain someone on her saree and she said a curt thank you. I was left wondering whether she was having some problem in her facial muscles and was not able to smile 😀

  11. Karen Jolly Karen Jolly January 28, 2014

    Corrine – what a beautiful story of the bowl. It makes me think about when we forget to see our own light how we can effectively cover it up over time. I love the idea of compliments turning that light back on. And it is so true, whenever we see the beauty in another, we are acknowledging the beauty within each one of us. Thank you Corrine!

  12. Shailaja V Shailaja V January 28, 2014

    This is an excellent story and something we can all afford to remember. A kind word can make us whole and a harsh one can scar us for a very long time.

  13. Relationship Advice Relationship Advice January 28, 2014

    Very lovely article!
    Compliments and appreciation go a long way in creating positivity and harmony in any relationship. I have a blog that mainly deals with relationship and communication issues, check it out!
    Rachel Moheban-Wachtel

  14. Elle Elle January 28, 2014

    Beautiful tale Corinne. What a wonderful concept that as we truly relish another we add a little glow to their light. Love this.

  15. Suzie Cheel Suzie Cheel January 28, 2014

    I love the story Corinne. giving and receiving compliments and being grateful is so empowering thank you

  16. David Stevens David Stevens January 28, 2014

    Hi Corinne,
    Wonderful story. Can’t beat a simple, authentically given “Thank You” in my opinion.
    Thank You and
    Be good to yourself

  17. Victor Victor January 28, 2014


    I never knew that, so thank you for sharing that bit of wisdom at the beginning. Here’s a compliment for you…You always bring brightness to my day with the smile I see on your page, or FB profile, or wherever. Thank you!

  18. Melissa Melissa January 27, 2014

    I have been working on being able to receive compliments better. My 17 year old son really has noticed I have a hard time with that. In fact he says to me, “What do you say Mom? You say Thank You and accept it.” He has actually helped me a lot, because I wasn’t even aware I was having a hard time with that. I have been working on it and you know what? It feels good to accept the compliment and say Thanks!

    As to giving compliments I totally agree. They need to be authentic and I find it easy to find something that is truthful with almost anyone. Seeing the good in others is usually easier than finding it within yourself for some reason. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg January 27, 2014

    There’s so much of wisdom in that story, Corinne. Thanks for sharing.
    Yes, sincere compliments cost nothing and can accomplish so much!! 🙂

  20. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson January 27, 2014

    Hi Corinne

    Never heard that story before, but it leaves a delight of the innocence of children. How soon we all fill our bowls up with stones.

    Hey, even if a person gives you a complement and it is not genuine…take it anyways, surely someone out there would say it if they had a chance. Just believe it, even if you know they don’t mean it. It will all be their loss for not being sincere. I think we have all had insincere compliments from time to time. I am grateful for any kind words…even if?


  21. Psych Babbler Psych Babbler January 27, 2014

    That’s a lovely post Corinne…I agree that for most of us it probably is hard to accept compliments and yet, a genuine compliment can make us feel really good! I have learnt over time that it’s ok to accept compliments and I don’t have to brush it off.

  22. nabanita nabanita January 27, 2014

    The story is so inspiring…. I too find it hard to accept compliments, need more practice there I guess.. But yes giving someone genuine compliments is a joy to both parties and we should do it sincerely 🙂

  23. Kathy Kathy January 27, 2014

    I love the Hawaiian story you shared! Compliments do light a person up from the inside out. I feel that way every time I answer the comments on my blog and return them. The more I do it the happier I feel, the more I smile, the more lit up I feel. I will keep this story close to my heart and reread it often to remind myself to let my little light shine. ♥

  24. Laurel Regan Laurel Regan January 27, 2014

    It can be difficult to accept compliments graciously – it really does take effort and practice for some of us. I am learning! Thanks for this great take on the subject.

  25. maggie maggie January 27, 2014

    I loved your post! You can tell a genuine compliment from a fake one like you can tell a dog from a cat, it is very very obvious! I loved the story and I have a tough time accepting compliments.

  26. Obsessivemom Obsessivemom January 26, 2014

    Completely love the analogy. Now each time I give a compliment I’ll think I’m lighting up someone’s life a little bit. Makes me happy.

  27. Aditi Aditi January 26, 2014

    Corinne you are beautiful! And your light reaches our hearts! The Hawaiian story was simple yet so profound… Giving and receiving compliments with a genuine open heart really does wonders!! 🙂

  28. Rum Punch Drunk Rum Punch Drunk January 26, 2014

    It took me many years to accept a compliment, and even nowadays I still feel slightly awkward. I think it was partly down to knowing that many people wanted something in return, and partly because I didn’t accept the fact that I was genuinely being told something nice about myself.

    When you’re raised with a lot of negativity, it’s hard to get on the positive side of things. Accepting you’re good at anything is not always easy for some I guess. I really enjoyed the simple Hawaiian story.

  29. usha menon usha menon January 26, 2014

    This is a such a sweet and simple story. This applies to both, young and old. We do not lose any thing by remembering to say three things ,’thank you’ ‘sorry’ and ‘please’. .Thanks for sharing .

  30. Vaisakh Vaisakh January 26, 2014

    Loved the Hawaiian story 🙂 I find it pretty difficult to deal with compliments actually. For one thing, I find it difficult to tell the honest ones from flattery, or perhaps even sarcasm 🙁 Used to be a miser in terms of giving too.. but that was more because of my introvert nature. But now I try to consciously compliment people if they deserve it. I guess that’s a start..

  31. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian January 26, 2014

    The Hawaiian story is simple, yet profound. Most of us forget that a compliment, smile or even an acknowledgement costs us nothing, but has a deep impact on the other person.

  32. Rainbow Hues Rainbow Hues January 26, 2014

    Lovely Hawaiian story! Here’s to removing stones from the bowl and helping the light shine…

    You’re wonderful 🙂

  33. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury January 26, 2014

    The Hawaiian story is sweet. Hawaii has so many interesting things – I am thinking of the Hoʻoponopono mantra “I love you.I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”

    I still have issues with accepting compliments, but that could simply be because of a long history of being taken for granted. And then, there’s the source of the compliment…some people do it solely with expectations. 🙂 But I’ve been learning over the past few years to receive graciously.

    Beautiful post as always!


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