Dean WarehamYou have to love yourself or you’ll never be able to accept compliments from anyone.
Compliments are not easy. Both, giving and receiving them. But to me honest, receiving a compliment is harder. Both are hard and that is so very, very stupid. Compliments should be easy. Compliments are a nice thing.
Let’s take today as an example.
I was asked to give a short speech. Nothing exciting, but my speech represented an organisation and I had put some thought into it. I had an idea what I wanted to say, I found a wonderful quote. I sat down, did some research and wrote words and ideas down. I then put it all together, made a nice text from it and some last minute changes. I said it to myself a few times and when the time came, I delivered my short speech.
After that a few people came up to me and told me how much they enjoyed what I said and the way I said it. That felt good, and yet, a part of me had a very hard time.
I know there is room for improvement. There always is. But I also believe that people liked it and their words were genuine. What seems to be the problem?
I can explain the problem, but not where it originates or why it even exists.
I always liked being complimented, but the moment I receive a compliment, I brush it off. And not only that, I play it down.
“Nice shoes” – “Oh they’re old”
“You wrote a very interesting piece” – “That was nothing really”
“Your kids are so well behaved” – “Yes, I got lucky”
I could go on and on with more examples. For years and years I replied in that way or something similar. It always bothered me, but I didn’t know how to change it and what to change it in. Saying “yes, I know” seems a bit arrogant and like I’m full of myself.
It took me a while to find a reply I was happy with. I’m sure I read about it someone and knew, I needed to change. My attitude towards compliments needed to change. Especially towards the ones other people pay me. It took me even more time to teach myself a new way of reacting. Not brushing it off, not belittling it. The solution was so easy really.
That is the way I now try to react to a compliment. I hear what someone says, I smile, am happy and say thank you. I enjoy the moment and the words. I have realised that changing my attitude changed me. In a good way. While there still are moments of doubt and the first impulse still is to shake it off. But I constantly work on myself.
I have also started paying more compliments. Whenever I see someone wearing something pretty, I say it. I let people know, if what they said or wrote made me think or reconsider my position. I share when I’m impressed or happy because of something another person did or said. Every now and then, if I’m in the right mood, I will go up to strangers and tell them that I like their outfit. Although this can be tricky with men, so I only compliment random women. It makes others as happy as me and I like to think that whatever I say to them might improve their day.
As the quote says, one has to love yourself to accept a compliment. If you don’t love yourself, you’ll never believe that you are deserving of any compliment. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others and compliment people as often as you can.
Now that I write this post, I wonder, is it different for men and women? Do men brush compliments off as much as women do? Have women been conditioned to act that way?