Monday, April 13, 2015

Take the compliment. Seriously.

Where I live, it's getting warmer.  Yesterday was the first play-outside-in-short-sleeves kind of day. I live in the state where it didn't start snowing til the end of January and our big city still broke it's record for the snowiest winter ever, so people are pumped.  Ladies and gentlemen everywhere are pulling out their shorts and dresses and flip flops and sunglasses and getting these hits of vitamin D that make them manically grin.  We're seeing neighbors emerge, running into friends on walks around the block.

It's about to get complimenty up in here.

It might be That is the cutest dress! or You're so good to be out running! or Your pedicure is adorable!  Or maybe it will come in the form of I love the color you painted the deck, or even Your new roof held up so well, that was smart to go with those ice-dam-prevention shingles!  

Of course, you are lovely and wonderful year round, so you may hear things like this all the time.  At work, a coworker might praise your presentation, or simply remark how patient you are with your children if they call when you're at the office.  Your best friend might tell you she's impressed with your dedication to meal planning.  Your sister might tell you that you throw the best Sunday brunches.  You look cute, often, and everyone from the secretary at the doctor's office to your mother's cousin is going to tell you that they like your shoes/hair/earrings/bag/lipstick.  

Here is how you're not going to react: you're not going to stammer.  You're not going to deflect.  You're not going to come up with an excuse as to why you don't deserve the credit.  There is a famous family story about a time when I had been working hard to get healthy, and I saw my mother, who sweetly told me I looked like I had lost weight.  I was so bad at taking compliments, EVEN FROM MY MOM, that I immediately blurted "I have acne on my back!"  (I have acne on my back is now shorthand for anyone ducking kind words).  You're not going to do that.  You're going to take the compliment.

It's easy.  "Thank you!"

Really, that's all there is to it.  Smile while you say it.  Then ask a follow up question (How did your roof do? or Did you see the Oscars last night? or What time do we need to meet with Jim?) and move about your day.  You can tack on a "I've been working on that," or "I really like this color, too," if you're feeling ambitious. It's okay to tell people that their compliment brightened your day, or validated something you've been putting work into.  But if all of this is hard for you, practice the beginners version.  Smile, and say "Thank you!"

I've definitely shared this before, but it is probably the most brilliant thing ever put on the internet.  I love Amy Schumer's comedy, and this is one of her best sketches.  It's severely NSFW, but until they all start killing themselves, I would say it's barely exaggerated as far as the dialogue between women when they are complimenting each other.  Please watch it.  This is what you look like when you don't take the compliment.


This weekend I received a compliment from a blogger that I admire (Jennifer from Cult of Pedagogy, the only education blog you need to be reading- the tagline is Teacher Nerds, Unite.  Come on.) and her kind words completely made my day.  It's time to get braggy.  I would love it if you would be brave enough to share a compliment you've gotten lately.  Let's get in the habit of celebrating each other, and start be celebrating ourselves.

Homework: 
1. Smile and say "Thank you!" to every compliment you receive.
2. Share a great compliment you've gotten.  Remembering it will give you that warm fuzzy a second time.

2 comments:

  1. great post! Everyone at work always compliments my outfits, which is always hilarious to me because I am SO UNCOMFORTABLE in work clothes and just want to be in jeans and a tank top all the time. And I usually say things like "heh heh it helps to not care if your clothes match!" or "I'm only in a dress so I don't have to wear pants!" and then scuttle along nervously.

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    1. "You adorable lady! Say "I know, aren't I too stylish to even handle?" But if that's too hard, stick with "thank you!" Can't wait to hear about your conference coming up!

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