Have you ever been complimented by a teacher, friend or colleague and then thought to yourself that you did not deserve it? On the outside you might (or might not) be forming the words thank you, and on the inside, you are thinking I did not do that well enough or what I did really wasn’t that special? Do you reject their good intentions?
I would like to invite you to imagine that the person giving you the compliment is sincere. In their opinion what you did is special, better than before or improved their life in some way. Your rejection actually makes them feel bad. I know that is not your intention, because the rejection is about yourself, not about them, but this is how it comes across.
I also invite you to imagine that you can accept their compliment, absorb it, enjoy it and believe it. Again, it is from their point of view, they believe what you did is special, you do not need to judge this, just enjoy it. From there you can imagine also doing, even more, being even better, improving. But, the starting place should be from a small celebration!
The act of feeling good about ourselves helps us to be more productive, successful and overall happier. Many people show some kind of mask of happiness on the outside and yet live in an internal world of self-doubt and self-sabotage. We are all too happy to accept any of the bad things people say, or we think they want to say, and yet we cannot even slightly comprehend that one of the nice things could be true.
It is important to make a habit of accepting compliments. In school and in work we are all taught to accept criticism, call it constructive criticism… No! let’s start in the beginning, first learn how to accept compliments. Let’s create a positive self-image. A self-image that starts on the inside. An image that is true to who you are and what you want to show to the world. When people compliment this, let it grow, shine it brighter and broadcast it out to anyone who might need it. From this place of confidence and self-knowledge, we can improve.
We always want to be striving to learn more and be better, but what is better if we don’t have a place to start? You are not accepting your shortcomings as irreversible because you believe a compliment. I know when I say this it sounds ridiculous, but many of us do this. We think we will not push ourselves to improve if we let someone say we are doing well. We can always do better!! And we should strive to be better!! It is what makes life interesting. However, we need a base to jump from, we need a foundation to build on, we need the comfort that today we are good enough. Today we are right where we are supposed to be. If we are always thinking about what we are not doing, what we did not do or what we cannot do that is what we are going to get, a lot of nothing. If we think about who we are, what we are and what we want to do then that is what we will grow.
Sometimes compliments will come from the strangest places, do not dismiss them, revel in them. Your acceptance also helps the person that is giving it to you. This means they see a trait in you that they are trying to grow. Show them your happiness that they recognized it if you cannot do it for yourself (yet) do it for them.
Be youthful in your approach, remember anything is possible, connection is the key