Here’s the problem with superlatives (the best, the biggest, the prettiest, the smartest):

They are really hard to live up to. And no one wants to be compared and to have to try to live up to these superlatives. So they just won’t.

It seems almost counterintuitive. But think about this for a minute.

There are few things more demoralizing, more disempowering and more demotivating than unrealistic goals and comparisons.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say your partner just made you a delicious dinner, complete with romantic music playing softly in the background and warm, soothing candlelight to eat by.

After you’ve finished eating, you smile and place your hand on his. Then you say sweetly, “This is the best meal ever!”

Big mistake. Big. Huge. (Forgive the Pretty Woman reference…)

But why? While your partner may have felt great in that moment, something shifted within him, because underlying your compliment is the implication that nothing will ever be able to compare favorably. So, now, instead of your relationship filling up with more and more of these wonderful experiences, your partner will be – perhaps unconsciously – thinking to himself, “I will never be able to live up to this standard now, so I will never try again.”

And then a few months or years down the road, your relationship is ending… in part because he just never does anything romantic for you anymore.

Know what I mean?

So, the next time you’re about to compliment something or someone, find a way of doing it that is empowering, engaging and motivating instead.

“I love this meal! Thank you so much for doing this for me! It’s beautiful, delicious and I have had a blast!”

See the difference? Or rather, feel the difference?

Have you noticed this in your life? Is there anything you’ve been told over and over again that caused you to stop trying? Share them with me!