Why is it so hard to accept, really accept a compliment?
You would think that accepting a compliment from someone would be easy, something nice said to you or about you, but do we really stop to allow ourselves to feel what is being shared with us about ourselves?
This is something I have been recently observing in myself. Someone offers me a compliment, and I quickly say thank you, brushing it off like it was said in jest, a fleeting moment, or simply to be polite, or better (worse!) yet I go into an explanation of why I may look good, or why my hair is incredibly amazing on that day.
Recently I have brought more attention to how I respond when someone pays me a compliment, why I am so quick to discard it and how it makes me feel. At times it makes me feel a little awkward, uncomfortable, almost as if I am not deserving of that level of attention from another.
What I am beginning to realise though is, it is not the compliments I am resisting but the fact that I do not actually stop to allow myself to feel that I am all that which another sees in me and more.
I do not appreciate or acknowledge myself, who I am and the way I am, and when a compliment is said I feel uncomfortable because it is something that I myself have not actually yet recognised within myself and accepted as a quality or a strength.
So I have been playing a little ‘game’ with myself. When someone offers me a compliment I stop, don’t speak, I just let myself feel what is being shared and appreciate the quality that another has seen, that I may not have allowed myself to see. I say, ‘Thank you’, allowing my body to feel what has been said.
Yes, there are times when I have recognised that I am feeling amazing and when another comments on that, it is felt and appreciated by me, – but if it is something that I have not yet allowed myself to feel I go into a mini story, brushing it off, going into a detailed scenario, a justification of why I deserve the compliment rather than simply accepting it and so on… in fact, the ‘mini story’ is anything really to prevent me from feeling that someone else noticed something ‘I’ chose to ignore.
So compliments have now become my friend, a way for me to stop and recognise when I have or have not taken stock of the amazingness for myself, and that it is not only great to have another see me for who I am, but also for me to truly see and accept myself for who I am, which is the ultimate compliment of all!
By Nicole Serafin, age 43, Tintenbar, Australia