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8 Women Get Real About The Power Of Compliments

You'd be surprised what a little praise can do.

Compliments are the unsung heroes of confidence-building. True confidence starts from within, but like any living, growing thing, it flourishes when given the proper water, nutrients and sunlight -- and in the case of confidence, nothing nourishes quite like compliments that acknowledge the light we’re shining.

Research shows that compliments do more than just flatter our egos; they can be incredibly powerful not only in confidence-building, but also in motivation and achievement -- a 2012 PLOS One study even indicated that compliments can be just effective as cash rewards in improving performance in the workplace. But the effects of compliments can extend far beyond day-to-day achievements -- sometimes, all it takes is one powerful word of praise to set a lifelong transformation in motion.

We teamed up with dressbarn and asked real women to share the compliments that have made a lasting impact on them over the years -- the ones that inspired them, boosted their confidence or affirmed what they knew to be true: that they’re already pretty amazing, just for being themselves.

  • “Once a coworker told me she thought I was older than my actual age because I seemed 'so poised.' No one had ever calle
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    “Once a coworker told me she thought I was older than my actual age because I seemed 'so poised.' No one had ever called me poised before and I'll never forget how nice — and reassuring! — it felt to hear that someone else thought I had my life together. As a young professional in my mid-20s, it's sometimes hard to feel confident in the workplace. It was great to feel assured that I was projecting a professional and self-confident demeanor.” -Erin, 25
  • "[A friend once gave me the compliment]: ’I loved that video that you posted of Bowie (my son). But what I really loved
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    "[A friend once gave me the compliment]: ’I loved that video that you posted of Bowie (my son). But what I really loved was how you and Hal (my husband) just sat there calmly and supported him. It was beautiful.’" It's rare for people to call out parenting in action. But in my experience, when they do, it's to be judgy. This meant so much to me that my friend noticed, said something sweet AND that I might actually be doing something right as a parent. Good stuff all around!” -Drea, 37
  • “A friend of mine told me he was really proud of the research I was doing because it was important, and I started cryin
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    “A friend of mine told me he was really proud of the research I was doing because it was important, and I started crying because it was so nice, wonderful [and] validating to have someone totally outside of mental health [research] understand why what I want to do might matter.” -Siena, 24
  • “[I once received this compliment from the parent of one of my students when I announced I was switching schools]: &lsq
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    “[I once received this compliment from the parent of one of my students when I announced I was switching schools]: ‘Thank you so much for everything you have done for my son. You are an amazing woman, I truly appreciate you and you will definitely be missed.’” -Emily, 25
  • “My co-worker once told me that the first adjective that came to mind when she thought of me was ‘confident.&rsqu
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    “My co-worker once told me that the first adjective that came to mind when she thought of me was ‘confident.’ Usually people say something about your physical appearance, and it was nice to hear something about me as a person.” -Emily, 30
  • “At a [job] interview [out of college], [a] woman I was talking to told me in so many words that the job probably wasn'
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    “At a [job] interview [out of college], [a] woman I was talking to told me in so many words that the job probably wasn't going to be a good fit; but she went on to tell me that I seemed knowledgeable and well-spoken, and then compared my demeanor to Michelle Obama (one of the best compliments I think anyone could receive). We spent the rest of the interview time talking about my interests, and she tried to help me figure out a position I would be better suited for. I'll never forget that conversation, and even though that ‘dream job’ wasn't the right fit, it was nice to know someone still had my best interests in mind.” -Kristina, 23
  • “Someone once told me I was endearing, and that was probably one of the best compliments I ever got. It made me want to
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    “Someone once told me I was endearing, and that was probably one of the best compliments I ever got. It made me want to be better, or to continue to strive for my best self. It was encouraging to know that others noticed the effort I was putting in to be the best version of myself.” -Lacey, 23
  • &ldquo;The best [compliment] <i>ever </i>from [a friend]: &lsquo;You walk with a purpose, even if you have no idea where you&
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    “The best [compliment] ever from [a friend]: ‘You walk with a purpose, even if you have no idea where you’re going.’” -Camille, 23

You’re already confident -- so give that confidence a boost with a compliment for yourself, for a friend or for a stranger, and pass on the inspiration. dressbarn, a fashion retailer whose mission has always been to make women look and FEEL beautiful, has tons of styles designed to let women show off their confidence and celebrate their shine. Share your confidence-boosting compliments for fellow women using #OWNINGIT!

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