I was chatting with a friend this week and they paid me a compliment. I shot back a funny comment (Followed by “That’s what she said”. It totally fit my first remark and made me laugh out loud). My friend laughed along with me.
Then they stopped laughing and said, “You can’t take a compliment“.
Do you ever have one of those moments where the reality of what someone says startles you with its cold, hard truth?
I have been mulling over that statement and keep thinking of examples that prove how awful I am at accepting compliments. It is not that I am not thankful. I am! I say thank you! Then I follow it with some sort of self-depreciating comment. A few examples:
Your children are so adorable.
Thank you! They sure look like their Daddy.
Those cookies you made are AMAZING.
Thank you! The recipe is super easy, though. Anyone could make them.
You look so pretty!
Thanks. You should see what I looked like in ninth grade, though…
You are so fit and thin.
Thanks! I will have you know, however, that my clothing covers a multitude of sins.
(The examples are plentiful. It is sad, really.)
It is not that I do not like receiving compliments. I DO. I mean, who doesn’t? The problem is that I get this awkward, conflicting feeling in my chest. The kind words make me all warm and fuzzy (and sometimes make me blush), but I also feel like maybe they are exaggerating a little and I would have not said anything if they really knew the true me. I have many, many flaws. I feel like I need to set them straight somehow.
How dumb is THAT?
When I pay someone a compliment, I do so because I mean it. I think they look pretty, I like their new jacket, I think that their baby is beautiful. I do not lie to people when I am showering them with uplifting comments. I am speaking the truth.
I often get perturbed when they deflect my comments, and usually tell them to suck it up and TAKE THE COMPLIMENT.
Pot, meet kettle.
The other part of my own deflection is the fear that instead of coming off as appreciative, I will come off as arrogant.
If someone says to me, “You look beautiful”, and I simply say, “Thank you”, It might be construed that I am not only thankful, but fully expecting the compliment.
Thank you! As a matter of fact, I AM looking quite ravishing today. I was wondering when you were going to say something.
I need to find a happy balance. To be a woman who can graciously accept compliments and model behavior for her little girl (and her two boys). I want to be that woman. You know the one. She is ageless, full of grace and beauty, exuding the love of her God with a peace about her. I have a long way to get to that point but I am pretty sure that the first step is recognizing my shortcomings.
The next step is deciding to make a change for the better. Maybe I should stick with the classic, “Thank you. You are too kind.”
So. If you hear/read me knock a compliment out of the air, call me on it. I will do the same for you. Our society is often about mocking and belittling others. How much better would it be if we all lifted each other up a little more?
I think this is the prime time to pay a compliment to each and every one of you reading my drivel. I do not say it often enough, but I am thankful for each and every one of you. It seems that just when I want to quit the Internet, someone will comment with something that makes me laugh. Each and every comment makes me smile. Thank you.
I should also tell you that you are looking particularly smashing today. Don’t you dare tell me otherwise.