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Healthy human relationships of all kinds include a certain degree of unsolicited compliments or affirmations of the other person or people in the relationship. Examples include: Nice job. Good work. Great idea. Excellent taste. Offering and receiving affirmations is an important part of any relationship. This helps to promote positivity, trust, and basic respect and high regard for all parties. It’s important to note, however, when affirmation from others is required for a person to feel good about themselves, this is a sign of a co-dependent relationship, 


Signs of Optimal Health & Wellness

Indicators of thriving:

  • Strong personal self-esteem, and can feel and show appreciation of affirmations from others (i.e. I appreciate that, or Thank you, that means something to me).
  • Knows own strengths and appreciates when they are recognized by others
  • Able to freely offer affirmations to others
  • Seeks to build people up; Recognizes and encourages others
  • Able to withstand criticism
  • Sees other people as potential cohorts rather than competitors

Warning Signs

Indicators of warning:

  • Low self-esteem; Requires affirmation from others to feel good about self
  • Cannot accept or give affirmations to others
  • Seeks to tear people down to feel good about self
  • Persistent victim status
  • Consistently compares self to others
  • Sees others as competitors
  • Deep resentment


Encouraging others and receiving affirmations is an important part of building and nurturing relationships. Unhealed trauma or neglect can play a major role in stifling this ability. When warning signs are present, it’s important to evaluate oneself. Ask questions like: Do I know my own beliefs, values and boundaries? Do I know my own self worth? Do practice self assurance and self affirmation? Answering these questions and being able to provide self affirmation is often a key to being able to provide and receive affirmations from others in a healthy way. 




  • Practice self affirmation
  • Practice giving compliments. If you get into an awkward situation, be honest and let the person know you’re still practicing.
  • Practice receiving compliments. One way to get started is to simply say, “I appreciate that” or “Thank you”. 
  • Celebrate National Compliment Day


Intervention may be needed when the inability to give or receive affirmation impacts your relationships, or your sense of self. 




If you are in an active domestic violence situation:

  • Dial 911; or
  • Go the nearest hospital emergency room