Playing Dodgeball

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.

WHY?

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.

uncomfortable, hiding, shy, woman, eyes, shielding, deflect, compliment

 

Writing in Pencil

There have been several significant times in my life where I have had to make the decision that I wasn’t traveling down a one-way road, writing in permanent ink. I have found myself in situations that were built upon my own decisions and choices, and because of those decisions and choices, I was resolute in seeing them through with little regard to how congruent they felt.

I believed I had written my story and was fated to simply see it through until I hit “The End”.

I’m a bit stubborn like that.

On those one-lane roads to lord knows where, I also had moments where I pulled over, looked at the map a bit differently, and found there was another route. It was rarely well-paved, or well-lit, but paid out tenfold in the experience I gained in learning to navigate.

I realized I had a completely new chapter to write.

The value is rarely in the ending; the real worth is found along the way. And it might be that a new route takes you to another you never would have found yourself on if you hadn’t veered off in the first place.

We’re all just telling ourselves a story. We become quite well-versed in what we think the next page should say, and often times we just keep writing the same chapter. But what if we challenged the writer? What if we asked ourselves to write bigger, write bolder, write more intentionally? What if the story was happier, stronger, more confident? What would we write then?

I want to encourage you to write. But don’t stop yourself from writing for fear of starting the wrong chapter or concluding with the wrong ending. Don’t limit yourself to writing small. And when you get to a place in your story that doesn’t feel right, never be afraid to start a new chapter and change your course.

Nothing is permanent. We’re all just writing in pencil.

pencil, notepad, writing, drafts, stories, erasing, starting, beginning, new, paper