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Collective Voice: Giving compliments is an art form – Saskatoon StarPhoenix



It’s so easy for a kind-hearted remark to be received poorly or for someone to ignore and dismiss it.

Andrea S. (for Saskatoon StarPhoenix Collective Voice column, 2019-20)


Grade 9 students in the Collective Voice program at Aden Bowman Collegiate share their lives and opinions through columns. Selected columns usually run on Mondays in The Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

By Andrea S.

Why does giving compliments feel so forced and receiving them feel so awkward?

According to Psychology Today, “There is only one way to receive a compliment — graciously, with a smile.” However, is it really that simple? What if someone’s compliment has a tone, or a message disguised underneath?

Initially I thought that compliments were just simple comments that fill in the space in a conversation. Yet, the more I looked into it, the more I realized it was more complicated. There seems to be an art to receiving and giving compliments. You have to say certain things at certain times; you can’t be “fake,” and it’s almost an expected gesture.

So what is the perfect compliment?

Nick Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Melbourne, thinks fake compliments have the opposite effects of genuine ones. He talks about how an individual who receives a compliment might feel that the compliment is insincere. This feeling of doubt can counteract the positive effects that were initially intended.

I personally have felt uncomfortable receiving certain compliments. I find it very difficult to interpret the sincerity of a compliment, often leaving me feeling insecure or uncomfortable. Having these feelings made me consider if I’m the only one who feels this way when receiving a compliment.

Do I make people feel this way?

I think that the compliment and the message the person is giving are not the only important aspects. We also have to consider how someone may receive the compliment. It’s so easy for a kind-hearted remark to be received poorly or for someone to ignore and dismiss it.

The factor of self-esteem also plays a big role. Someone with low self-esteem might feel awkward or not know how to accept or react to a compliment. That’s something that I’ve also found difficult to do myself. It’s hard to accept what someone is saying when you don’t believe it yourself.

Even though giving or receiving compliments may seem scary or messy, having good intentions is key.

So are compliments a good thing or could they just lead to more negative outcomes? A study supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science took people and tried different scenarios with different praises. The outcomes were interesting.

The study lead, Professor Norihiro Sadato of the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, stated that “to the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. We’ve been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. Complimenting someone could become an easy and effective strategy to use in the classroom and during rehabilitation.”

According to Sadato, giving compliments has the potential to provide beneficial effects such as increased performance and positive outcomes. Compliments can be used as an effective positive reinforcement tool.

From what I’ve learned, giving and receiving compliments is overall a great thing. It can increase people’s performance and can make their day. An important thing to remember is not to force compliments or say things you don’t truly believe. A perfect compliment is a kind-hearted one.

Positive and truthful praise can really help someone change their life around.


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Art Fx #29: The Wilderness Collection by Stephanie Aykroyd – Huntsville Doppler



Art Fx is a year-long series on Huntsville Doppler featuring Huntsville-area visual artists.

The Wilderness Collection is a series of original oil landscapes on canvas by Stephanie Aykroyd.

“In a remote region of Ontario, Canada, is a land filled with old-growth pine, smooth granite outcrops, and clear waters. Like most wilderness areas, it is ancient and sacred,” writes Stephanie of her inspiration for this series. “The ancestors of this land left carvings in the rock, barely visible now, but their presence is strong. They travelled this land that you’re camping on and paddling through. Perhaps they sat on the same rock overlooking this lake…

“The storm has just passed and everything feels deeply still and peaceful.

“You can smell the pine and damp earth as you watch the mist drift across the far hills and light break through the clouds. A loon calls in the distance, and you smile, knowing that you belong.”

 “Limitless” (left) and “In the Quietest Moments” are original oil paintings in Stephanie Aykroyd’s The Wilderness Collection

About the artist

I live with my love Alex, on 27 acres north of Toronto, Ontario in a beautiful part of the Canadian Shield.

Stephanie Aykroyd (Danielle Taylor Photography)

I’m happiest in my studio or outside with my hands in the garden, searching for rocks, making pigments, portaging a canoe, or paddling the remote wilderness.

Over the years I always managed to paint, but it wasn’t a regular practice. I held back from making it my career and it was usually the first thing to be shelved when life got overwhelming. Far too often I focused on others at the expense of my own creative expression. However…

I’ve always dreamed of doing my art full-time and I’m a firm believer that when we set clear intentions & do the work, amazing things unfold!

By 2020, the need to create art became too strong and too important to ignore. Why keep putting off the very thing that feeds my soul?? This is the best decision I could have made and I haven’t looked back since!

Stephanie’s work is available for purchase at

See more local art in Doppler’s Art Fx series here.

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Departures at high-profile Barcelona museum provoke anger in art world – The Guardian



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Departures at high-profile Barcelona museum provoke anger in art world  The Guardian

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Oak Bay sets aside $27,000 for Indigenous art at muncipal hall – Saanich News



Oak Bay’s newly renovated chambers will feature a new piece of public art commissioned from an Indigenous artist.

The district allocated one per cent of the budget for the hall renovation, $7,000 to public art. Combined with the annual public art allocation, the district has $27,000 to spend on a work for municipal hall.

The move to work with a local artist, specifically from the Lekwungen speaking people on whose land Oak Bay sits, was unanimous among council members.

“This is a rare opportunity to have the resources to do that and as the renovated municipal hall reopens, have that be one of the centrepieces,” Coun. Andrew Appleton said during council discussions July 12.

Still in the earliest of stages, conversation surrounded the how of the project.

Oak Bay is between arts laureates, but liaison Coun. Hazel Braithwaite said the public arts committee is taking on that leadership role.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay artist leaves land to Victoria Native Friendship Centre

Coun. Tara Ney lamented the district’s lack of policy or set protocol for engaging in such initiatives.

She voiced a need to create pathways for engaging so it’s not done piecemeal, and instead with confidence and in culturally appropriate way.

Mayor Kevin Murdoch, who is routinely in conversation with local First Nations leadership, said the district is doing well in the absence of policy, always seeking guidance and building relationships in small ways.

Council agreed working toward something more formal is something they could pursue.

“This does require more formality and we need to start to establish those connections so we’re consistent and so we’re completely aware and sensitive to their needs,” Coun. Cairine Green said.

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READ ALSO: Greater Victoria residents invited to blessing of Indigenous mural celebrating solidarity

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