I’m not good at complements. Let me amend that, I’m very good at giving out complements, often stopping a stranger on the street when she looks fabulous to let her know her efforts are recognized and appreciated. But when it comes to receiving them, I stink. I push them aside, diminish them , pooh-pooh them. I don’t know why I do this. Maybe it’s my fear of not getting too full of myself, to be perceived as arrogant or cocky or just plain standing out in the crowd. So I’d do my best to downplay whatever was being complemented about me, be it a new outfit, a good job at work or kindness to another. What I didn’t realize in doing this was I was completely insulting the complementer. This person had gone out of their way to remark on something they found agreeable about me. They’d made themselves vulnerable in doing so. My dismissal was complete negation of their actions. I’d dismissed them, their taste and their kindness with my attempt at being self deprecating. Wasn’t that nice of me?!!
Realizing what I was doing mortified me. My attempts at humility were completely backfiring. Not exactly what I’d hope the outcome would be. So now what I try to do as I feel the dismissal forming in my throat is to take a deep breath, smile and graciously say “Thank You”. That’s it, nothing more. And the appreciation I see in the complement giver’s face is reward enough for me. I just have to keep remembering do it. Thank you, I’ll keep trying.