Making a point to express respect, gratitude, and admiration frequently is of an enormous benefit to you. Not just because people will generally like you more, but also because it’s a fantastic thing to think about when you get stuck.
Sometimes in my work, I work with clients who feel a little lost and purposeless (or very lost and purposeless). They want more meaning, or more respect, or more admiration. They don’t know how to get it. I’ll ask them, “well, let’s look for a different model – who’s the last person you expressed those things to?”
If they have an answer, we’re off to the races. It’s easy to then ask questions like “why do you respect that person so much?” We get all sorts of brainstormed ideas about what causes a life to have meaning or what causes work to be respectable in their eyes, etc.
If, however, they answer that initial question with “I can’t even remember the last person I expressed such a thing to,” well… that’s another thing, isn’t it? You don’t show respect or gratitude to anyone around you and you don’t feel like you’re respected or admired by anyone around you. I promise those things are correlated.
Taking frequent note of what you admire in others is an engine that can drive you towards admirable traits in yourself. It’s nearly costless as a habit, and has tons of other benefits besides. In other words, when you esteem someone – say so.