Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from my monthly newsletter, the Limitless Motherhood. If you find yourself nodding along, sign up for these encouraging twice-monthly emails! Or send this link to a friend who needs to accept a compliment because she’s all things amazing.
“I really love that new rug. You did a great job decorating this room!”
“Well, don’t look in the kids’ bedrooms. SUCH a mess.”
“Love your haircut, you look so pretty!”
“Glad you didn’t see me an hour ago, ha!”
“What a great party! You outdid yourself planning the details.”
“Oh, I found everything on Pinterest. There’s no way I could think all this up!”
When someone offers you a compliment, what’s your initial response? If you’re anything like me, you might:
sidestep that compliment with the skills of a verbal ninja
make a joke in which my looks or abilities are the inevitable punch line
thank the person, but always with some limiting “but…” so they don’t think I think I’m better than everyone (perfect logic - right?)
be as self-effacing as possible…I wouldn’t want to appear "snooty"
boomerang the compliment and immediately redirect the focus back on the other person
Enough is enough.
Why do I feel the need to belittle every kind word thrown my way? For the majority of my adult life, this has been my automatic response. Afterwards, I’ll replay the scene in my mind, and am embarrassed that I still respond this way.
When I have graciously accepted a compliment before, I do so with a smile, eye contact and a direct “thank you!” Even if I feel a little sick in my stomach the entire time.
It doesn’t always make a difference who delivers the compliment, a stranger, friend or even my husband. My response is usually the same. In my jumbled brain, the act of humbling myself against the onslaught of a compliment protects me from becoming *gasp*….a snob.
Ridiculous, right? As if accepting a genuine compliment makes me appear egocentric and pretentious. My ugly fear of being perceived as a Regina George is its' own inner Mean Girl.
Recently, I’ve noticed how my six-year-old daughter responds after I compliment her.
“Did you make that all by yourself? Wow, you’re so creative!”
“Thanks! I really like it.”
As simple as that. She accepts and enjoys my compliment. She allows my words to wash over her fill her emotional cup.
Why can’t I always do the same?
My daughters are watching and listening. If whenever their Mom is complimented and she brushes it off, what will they learn?
They will learn to limit themselves.
To downplay their gifts and abilities.
They might listen to their own inner mean girls.
They’ll believe that self assurance is conceited.
Clearly, this is not what I want for them - or for myself. There is a time and place for teaching our children humility, but they also need to learn the art of accepting a compliment with grace.
The next time I receive praise, I’ll accept it with a smile and a genuine thank you.
No side stepping or Regina-phobia allowed.