This morning I came across a post on Facebook that really struck me. A friend was asking for advice on how to accept compliments and praise. Now for some of you, that might sound silly. For me, and many women I know, this takes serious work. My natural reaction is either to flush with embarrassment and change the subject (although I’m secretly thrilled) or to turn the compliment back to the giver. That post, though…it got me. I have done al lot of work on myself in the past couple years (clearing out old baggage and rewriting my self narrative). So why is it that I, too, struggle so much with letting someone pay me a compliment?
Some of us were just told too many negative and hurtful things in our lives to let the good in now. Many of us were taught at a very young age to be coy, unassuming and to not seek attention. I think it is in human nature to want attention and praise; but again as children, we are often shamed for seeking it. Yes, some of us are naturally shy and some of us, sadly, have low self esteem which will not allow us to hear the good that people are dying to shower upon us. So here are a few lil’ tips for learning to just take the damn compliment.
Just be gracious. Here’s the thing, when someone takes the time to pay you a compliment or give you positive feedback it is coming from inside them. If we shake it off like acid rain drops or ignore it, we are negating their feelings. I, for one, am a big fan of manners. So, if you can not accept the compliment for yourself, do it for the person giving it. Who knows? After a while you just might start to believe them, and who couldn’t use some good feelings in their hearts and souls?
Bring them into it. When I am given praise, my immediate response is to lob it back at the person giving it. For example: Friend, “Wow, Michelle, you look beautiful today” Me, “no, YOU DO!”. I mean….really? I sould say that I try to shower my friends in love and praise because I truly think they are marvelous creatures. So does it not stand to reason that I just might be one too? Yes, that makes damn fine sense! So if you suffer from my particular brand of compliment phobia, maybe next time try something more like “Yes, we both do!”. Hey…it’s a start, right?
Fucking Own it! This step is for advanced users. Now, I have to state that we were (most of us) as children taught that this was bad manners. I can vividly recall being a child sitting in my mother’s grocery cart and strangers constantly approaching me to compliment my hair (it was pretty damn beautiful). After a while, I would just smile and say “I know”. My mom would flush pink and apologize for me; I never understood that really. But I did learn that, clearly, it was the “wrong” response. As a woman, and now mother, I think that’s bullshit. Yes, I am teaching my daughter manners, but I am also teaching her self worth and self love. I think there’s a lesson there for all of us. So, if you feel like you are ready, the next time someone says something nice to you….just take it! Let yourself feel it, believe it, and accept it. There’s a very simple way to do it; just say “thank you”.
All this being said, let’s not forget that we need to properly love ourselves first, before we can let ourselves be loved. On that note, I leave you with these inspiring women.