I love compliments.
When i was working i used to get compliments on my hair or figure or clothing or typing speed, and i loved it. I actually liked the occasional "rude" wolf whistle when i used to walk in the evenings.
When the kids were young and i did a lot of artwork, it felt wonderful to be able to create something that people loved. When i used to write more in newsgroups i got compliments on my writing style and that felt good too.
Way back in school i won awards for my art and creative writing, and was referred to the San Diego Symphony by my violin teacher when he released me saying i knew all that he knew. I put down the violin and never picked it up again. Why, i still don't know. Fear of success, perhaps? Or maybe fear of failure. Or hormones.
Probably in high school i could have earned a scholarship had i felt worthy of my creative talents (instead of the wrong talents on which i based my self-worth during those years).
Mrs. Bean (my fifth grade teacher) helped me find my abilities, encouraged me and helped me shine. Even though i got off track for a few years (quite a few, actually), i can still remember how special she made me feel - or actually, how special she showed me that i already was. And she wore lots of blue eyeshadow and had a beehive hairdo. She was just sooo very cool!
As for compliments, i don't think it's so much a need for validation - i already know what i'm good at and what i'm not, but more about feeling appreciated and encouraged. I think all humans are probably like that. I used to be unable to accept compliments, denying them right in the face of the person giving them. That's wrong.
The clerk at the grocery store will call people "Beautiful" or "Handsome" and it could be taken as false flattery; yet i see it as the truth from her perception. She *does* see me as beautiful, whether or not by some societal standard of beauty. She also sees the little old blue-haired lady as beautiful, and she actually *is*. The clerk is beautiful, too. Hell, we're ALL beautiful in our own way (yeah, i know that's an old hippie song).
In retrospect, i can see that art and psychology/parapsychology were my (missed) callings. Music wasn't becuz in spite of talent i had the handicap of social shyness (social phobia, social anxiety, whatever the psychiatric buzz word) and could not play in front of anyone unless i could hide behind the big bass in the orchestra so nobody could see me.
Oh well... today, maybe just by blogging and putting up my tiny contributions on my quasi-insignificant little virtual cubicle on the infinite web of wisdom of mankind throughout the ages (or "www" for short) i can touch an occasional soul and make someone's life a little more pleasant for a moment.