I love when I get my hair washed and styled at the hair salon – I swear I walk out of there feeling like a million bucks! And having people compliment me before I even hit the street is a definite plus! But I didn’t always welcome compliments. In the past, I could just not accept a compliment graciously, and say, ‘thank you”.
In the past, twenty people could come up to me in a day’s time and say something nice about me and I’d smile and say thank you, but in my mind I would dismiss every single compliment. I simply couldn’t internalize something I don’t feel myself. Maybe it was stupid – but it was my reality.
And sometimes, even now, especially when I go for treatment, I feel so ugly and useless, I may still have a hard time accepting a compliment…but I am more aware of this uneasy twinge, and manage to smile and confidently utter, “thank you”.
I no longer feel the need to counter any praise by listing off my flaws. I no longer worry that by accepting admiration, I may appear arrogant. I used to foolishly worry that I would come across as proud, conceited, or egotistical – if I accepted a compliment without following up with a negative. I no longer feel this way. I welcome and accept all compliments. These days, I don’t find myself having to downplay my strengths and emphasizing my weaknesses.
So many people even with high self-esteem may tend to reject the compliment because they want to be seen as modest and humble; others with lower self-esteem may not accept the compliment because it is inconsistent with their self-image. I guess also we sometimes think the person giving us a compliment only wants something – so we are less likely to believe it.
I understand now that a kind word, acceptance, actually makes me feel better; boosts my self-esteem. I believe it even wards off some depression. Compliments should lead to positive thinking, not lead us to focus on our flaws and questions other’s motives.
Between doctor visits, treatments, being too tired to perform 110% at work – I look forward to the smallest kindness. Believing the kind words of others —when I am feeling stressed or sad can actually counteract those negative emotions and improve my mood dramatically.
Always in my pursuit of finding balance, I like to follow this goal: Don’t let people’s compliments go to your head and don’t let their criticisms go to your heart. I am not sure who first coined this expression – but the sentiment is a good reminder to all.
More words to live by:
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
– Leo Buscaglia
So today when my friend states, “When I compliment you, I compliment myself, because I am who I associate with”, I will just hug him and smile. ♥