Can you accept a compliment?
What's keeping you from feeling the love?
I started thinking about compliments last night as I was writing out all of the details for my next Small Group Coaching Session. It begins on Monday, January 22nd (email me to join! firstname.lastname@example.org). We are going to have so much fun!! I was laughing because I know how many compliments you'll be getting when you complete your six-week makeover. But, a more serious thought sunk in...So many women--moms especially--don't know how to accept and allow a compliment. Let's talk about that for a sec.
When someone gives you a compliment, you have a few choices. You can:
1) Deflect or reject the compliment by arguing, laughing, making a face, changing the subject, etc.
2) Downplay the compliment by saying that what you did wasn't that big of a deal.
3) Accept the compliment by saying "thank you" with a smile on your face.
Why wouldn't one want to accept a compliment? Let's first assume that this is a genuine compliment, delivered with good intentions. Well, sometimes it feels strange. We don't know what to say. Often women aren't used to being praised (Can all of the stay-at-home moms give me an "Amen"?). We may not feel comfortable being the center of attention. We may not actually believe the compliment. We may feel that we aren't deserving of praise or attention. We may not feel valuable. We may have been trained (as so many women are) that it's impolite or cocky to take a compliment. If you relate to any of these sentiments, please give yourself a moment to think or journal on why you may be having these feelings. There's a much deeper lesson to be learned.
It is also important to note that when you chose not to accept the compliment that someone else gives you, in a sense you are rejecting the person who wanted to say something nice to you. It can be really awkward, too!
Try not to feel pressure with a compliment. If one day someone compliments you on your cute hair or fun outfit, that does not mean that you have to do that every day. It is not a standard that you have to maintain! (This is so true when you get complimented on your kids' behavior. It's like an open invitation for them to be jerks moments later!) You are allowed to have a good day and get noticed for that, without letting it make you feel any sort of guilt if the very next day you go out into the world differently.
After many years of training ourselves not to take a compliment, it's hard to get back into the practice. But, PLEASE try. Your kids are watching. You want them to skip the years of drama and negative self-talk that you have possibly experienced.
I want to invite you to start truly accepting compliments because it feels good to be seen. Most people in this world just want to be seen and acknowledged. A compliment is a little taste of that feeling. Enjoy it! Savor it. Think about it later when you are feeling down.
My suggestion is to, as cheesy as it sounds, head to the mirror and give yourself a genuine compliment. Look yourself in the eye. Smile. Say something nice out loud. Then, accept that sweet lady's compliment by looking her in the eye and saying "thank you" with a smile. See? That wasn't too hard. Try starting your day with this practice.
Get out there and give some compliments. I promise that it makes your grocery run so much better when you look for the good in a fellow shopper and hand out a well-deserved compliment. Plus, it trains your brain to see the good in people. And, that is a WIN-WIN.