I am not a person who accepts compliments or praise easily.
I shrug, turn away, side-step, back pedal. I refute, toss aside, downplay, deflect to someone or something else.
What is it about compliments that causes us to duck? Why does praise for our accomplishments make us want to bob and weave like we’re avoiding getting hit in a round of dodgeball? We might be able to volley compliments like champs, but when one comes our way, we scatter.
Complaints or faults on the other hand, we fall all over ourselves to outdo each other.
It’s not necessarily that the compliments are untrue; the validity of the statement bears little on the reaction. It’s that we never allow ourselves to applaud ourselves. Most importantly, we never allow ourselves to do so in front of others.
It’s become almost an art of sorts, how good we have become at deflecting.
We could have done it better. We should have done that one last thing. We really meant to do this, not that.
We are not special. We are not worthy. We wouldn’t want anyone to think that we might feel that we’re superior, that we’re self-important, conceited, entitled, or proud.
God forbid we might make ourselves proud, right? How dare we accept that maybe, on some days, in certain situations, we’re pretty great. That we actually did a good job at something.
What in the actual hell.
If I overheard one of my daughters being complimented on an accomplishment, and she downplayed it, or worse, did not genuinely acknowledge someone acknowledging her efforts?
I would be on fire.
Why are we so damn afraid of being proud of ourselves? When did receiving a compliment with grace become a bad thing? Why are we afraid to admit that we might like ourselves? That we feel like we did a damn good job at something?
We try really, really hard to make ourselves small, to diminish ourselves.
Because it’s the honorable thing to do? For WHOM?
I want to be proud of my work. I want to be proud of my accomplishments. I want to be happy with myself and my efforts. I don’t want to make myself small, and I sure as hell don’t want to lessen my achievements.
We work hard. We put in a tremendous amount of heart. We deserve to step up and take the damn applause.
So do me a favor. The next time someone compliments you, and it makes you feel uncomfortable, and you want to turn away, or deflect, or play it off…don’t. Simply say, “thank you.”
And practice saying that, every single time, until acknowledging someone for acknowledging you is no longer uncomfortable.