Why is it so hard to take a compliment? I know I LOVE to give them, I enjoy making someone else feel good. But taking them?
There is a very sweet group of teenage girls at work who so eagerly tell me every day how much they like what I am wearing. They actually get excited to see my outfit and enjoy telling me why. But one day after one of their kind observations, a girl stopped and pointed out to me, "Miss, do you realize that every time we compliment you, your reply is always 'oh, I'm just comfortable'."
It was then that I realized that I was blowing off the lovely comments these girls were so enthusiastically giving me. My inability to just graciously take the complement was making these girls feel like their kindness wasn't appreciated.
There seems to have evolved a very bizarre formula around taking a compliment:
- Someone gives a compliment
- The receiver is surprised (and sometimes uncomfortable)
- The receiver then is quick to brush it off by putting themselves down
- The receiver often deflects the attention by saying by tossing a compliment right back
- The giver is left wondering why they gave it in the first place!
Where a compliment should build someone up, we are all so quick to use it as an opportunity to prove how unworthy we really are. This happens by how we quickly dismiss the compliment by saying:
- this old thing?
- oh, this was so cheap.
- yeah, when I bother to make an effort I can look half decent.
- yours is so much better than mine.
- actually, no, I'm a mess today.
We are so out of practice appreciating ourselves that when someone else goes out of their way to make us feel good, we just see it as another opportunity to point out our flaws.
We are telling that other person we aren't worthy of their thoughtful observation and end up robbing them of the joy that comes from being kind to someone. And often we scramble to compliment them in return so we redirect the focus onto them and off of ourselves. But nobody gives a compliment expecting one in return. They simply want to feel the joy in making someone else feel good about themselves. We need to allow them that joy and start agreeing with them!!
So, it is time to take the compliment! And the only two words that are needed to do that is...