I love complimenting people on something that I admire: a new hair cut, new shoes, nice outfit, a decoration, a child’s behavior etc. What I have noticed, is how uncomfortable we are with receiving compliments! When we receive a compliment we quickly rebut with downplaying the compliment, or even avoiding it, as if it’s somehow painful to acknowledge. The typical response is: “Oh, these shoes, I got them at Target on sale.” OR “This outfit, I have had it for years!” OR “You are just seeing my son on a good day, usually he is not this well behaved.”
Why can’t we let people see that we may have a great kid?! Why can’t we proudly wear an outfit regardless of the age? Why must we make excuses and deflect when we receive a compliment?
The biggest question is why can’t we just say “THANK YOU” when we receive a compliment? Thank you can be a complete sentence! There is no explaining necessary, no excuses needed, just “Thank You.”
I became aware that as I was teaching my children about apologizing to each other after a disagreement or if one of them hurt the other one, their exchange to each other was typically something like this, “Sorry for hitting you,” and the response was, “It’s ok.” When I was really listening to this response it dawned on me… WHEN IS IT EVER OK FOR SOMEONE TO HIT YOU????? When I began to think deeper about this I realized that we adults say the same thing! Our typical response is, “It’s ok,” or “It’s fine,” or even worse, “Don’t worry about it, it’s over.”
WHEN DID IT BECOME OK FOR SOMEONE TO HURT US AND THAT THEY SHOULDN’T WORRY ABOUT IT???
My realization is that whether it be compliments or apologies the response need be the same, “Thank you.” For some reason, this feels like a difficult response for both. The difficulty stems from the issue of worthiness and how we treat ourselves. Both a compliment and receiving a sincere apology are energies of the heart. This means that when we deflect them, we are not allowing ourselves to take in heart energy or love energy. Another way of saying this is that we don’t feel worthy of receiving the love coming in and can’t accept it.
Ask yourself, do you allow yourself to receive a compliment or an apology? How does it make you feel when someone compliments you or apologizes to you? Are you worthy of it? Why on earth wouldn’t you be?
When did we get so good at putting ourselves down? Whether it be a compliment or an apology, start using the response, “Thank you.” The simple exercise of saying "Thank You" can shift us emotionally, from feelings of unworthiness to worthy, from deflecting love for self to accepting love for self. Self love is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and it all begins with a simple "Thank You."