Alright, I know that I’m not the only person who tends to deflect a compliment. Well, at least I USED to deflect compliments. Ever since reading Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes a few years back, I now consciously work much harder at ACCEPTING them, graciously, and wholeheartedly.
I wrote a post for Milk N Heels a couple of weeks ago, about learning to accept a compliment or the praise that you deserve. So many of us were raised to believe that this was the height of arrogance, and ego, when in fact it is the exact opposite. It is gracious, dignified, and humble to simply say thank you when somebody takes time out of their day to acknowledge something fabulous about you. So, if you happened to miss it, and it’s something you need a little help with, here it is:
I find myself writing about accepting compliments, because I used to be pretty awful at it. Now that I’ve turned the corner on it, whenever I witness other people refute well-deserved accolades, I cringe inside. Not from a judgement standpoint, but from a; “oh man, I’ve been you in the past and I know how uncomfortable you are right now.”
Now, I don’t want to get all sexist on you, but it’s been proven time and time again that it is something that heavily affects women more than men. Why are we women like this? Why is it so challenging for us to accept a compliment with civility and grace?
Well, in a nutshell, we are conditioned to respond in this way.
And before you tell me I’m generalizing, and that you’ve always accepted a compliment graciously and not once have you done the self-deprecating refusal of a compliment thing, then I say, sincerely and with zero sarcastic tone in my voice; lucky you! But, unfortunately for most women out there, and probably many who are reading this article, if somebody tells us we look beautiful, or that our outfit is amazing, or that our hair is incredible, our immediate reaction is: “Oh, you’re crazy, my hair is a wreck,” or “I’m actually so fat right now, and this outfit is the only thing in my closet,” or “You’re just being nice,” or some variation of this response.
If you were to tell a man any one of the same things he would say; “Thanks.” Or he might say; “Thank you.” But he will never ever drag you down the rant hole of saying his thighs are too fat, or he has back boobs, and that his grey roots are just too much to deal with. Nope. A man for the most part, will accept the compliment at face value, and move on.
As women, we need to accept praise for our appearance, for a job well done, for our general awesomeness. If somebody thinks you’re brilliant, thank them for acknowledging your intelligence. If a person wants to shower you with praise because they think you’re an incredible human being, thank them for appreciating all the hard work you’ve done to ensure that. Be gracious: there is no ego in accepting accolades, appreciation and praise.
I’ll admit saying thank you to compliments at first was pretty uncomfortable and awkward, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll come to learn that it is literally one thousand times less awkward than not accepting one graciously.
Here are a few helpful tips that I used in order to stop deflecting and start accepting:
1) I trusted that if somebody was taking the time to express something positive toward me, or about me, chances are it was it was coming from a place of sincerity. Then I put myself in their shoes and simply decided that thanking somebody for their kindness was much better than making them feel foolish for it.
2) I began graciously complimenting other people more frequently. Paying it forward as it were. It seems the more you see the good in others, even if it is external, the better you feel about yourself. Being gracious, and giving to others, has an incredibly positive effect on you.
3) I decided to love myself more, and to accept that there is no shame in others appreciating me as much as I appreciate myself.
4) And then I just started to say “Thank You”.
Because let’s all be honest here, feigning surprise that people think you’re as wonderful as you are or trying to convince them of otherwise, just comes off like you’re looking for even more praise than what has been bestowed. And, as I’ve been known to tell my girls when they act like that is to; “stop fishing.” Meaning say thank you, accept the compliment, and move along. Trust me when I tell you, it’s a whole lot less uncomfortable than making a mountain out of a compliment and turning it into a sidewalk therapy session.
So take the compliments, and run my friends!