Earlier this morning, I dropped my younger daughter off at her summer school camp. They do this really cool thing when the kids arrive… Most kids arrive on a bus, and the teachers gather at the door of the bus in a tunnel formation, to sing and clap loudly and cheer for each kid as they get off the bus. My kid doesn’t take the bus, so I purposely try to get there BEFORE the bus arrives, because when we do, she gets the same fanfare at the car. These kids are all middle school age, and wildly self conscious, and the applause when they arrive is uncomfortable for most of them. So why do I purposely get there so that she can experience being uncomfortable?
Don’t get me wrong… I am not a mean mama, nor do I take pleasure in my kids being uncomfortable. And what does any of this have to do with receiving a compliment? What I want for my girls, for both of them, is to have a healthy self-esteem and self-worth. Do y’all remember being a pre-teen in middle school? It’s a tough age. Can you imagine starting every day with people applauding that you just showed up? Can you imagine people making “just showing up” fun? What a different experience those years would have been! The kids in this program are all high achievers who earned the privilege to be there, really great kids, super smarties who beat out a ton of other super smarties to even be considered for this experience… they are all so completely ah-ma-zing and most of them don’t even know it. I honestly hope that by the end of this summer program, my daughter, and every kid there, will come to appreciate and accept the applause and maybe even enjoy it, because she really deserves it, just as all the other kids do.
Not that I want her to expect applause every time she walks in to a room… that would be ridiculous. I DO want her to know that she really, truly deserves great stuff, and I also want her to know how to accept compliments and accolades when she deserves them.
I’ve made some observations recently, with my kids, my clients, my friends, and myself. Why do most adults bat away compliments? I mean, someone says something really nice, and we brush it off or deflect it a majority of the time. Why do we do that? I notice it more with women, but men do it too. I’ve personally done it myself. I have actually had to consciously learn how to say “thank you” and learn to accept or “receive” compliments. Isn’t that weird? Why does a grown woman need to learn how to accept nice words from well-meaning people? And why the HECK is this common behavior in the modern society we live in??
When I talk about compliments, I’m not talking about the insincere kind, like the rehearsed words a dishonest used car salesman uses or the canned words an online dating troll uses. I’m talking about simple, sincere, every day stuff like “WOW, you look amazing in that color” or “Whoa, that picture you took looks so professional” or “Oh my goodness, you are so funny I think I just peed my pants”… or perhaps it’s not even words, it could be kind actions like that nice man who maybe didn’t even say a thing, but he smiled and opened the door for you at the mall.. you know, those impromptu things people say and do in normal everyday life… those people don’t have to say nice things or do nice things, but they do. Who doesn’t want that?? So why do we tend to deflect it when it happens?
I believe when we can’t, or won’t, or don’t know how to take or receive a compliment, or a polite gesture, it speaks to our own self-worth and self-esteem. Someone points out something positive that maybe we don’t see within ourselves, and we don’t know what to do with it. Or maybe they bring attention to something we are internally nervous about, and we are so freaked out in our own head that someone even noticed… even if it’s a good thing… and we get uncomfortable, or flustered. Maybe they go out of their way to do something really nice, but we don’t feel like we deserve it, or maybe we just aren’t used to it.
Every time we brush off those kind words or good deeds, we create a blockage for ourselves. It’s a block from receiving the good stuff in life! Knock that off, people.. Be open to receive the good stuff!! Don’t y’all know how amazing and brilliant and gorgeous and creative you are??? You ARE! YOU ARE AMAZING and BRILLIANT and GORGEOUS and CREATIVE!! You really REALLY are!!
Wait… Stop reading for a second, and que the words “thank you” here..
Someone (yep, lil ol’ moi) just gave you a very genuine compliment just now. In bold letters. (Gasp!) Yep, I sure did. And I meant it. That was just for you, darling heart. For reals!!! Doesn’t that feel fantastic??? Go read it again, as many times as you want, I’ll wait as long as it takes for it to sink in. Own it. Please be open to receive my sincerest loving intention in the form of a compliment right here. YOU DESERVE IT!!
Ok, please resume reading now:
Here is the bottom line… When someone gives you a compliment, treat it like a gift. If someone presented a gorgeously wrapped box, with a beautiful, glittery bow on it, tailored and special just for sweet, beautiful YOU, would you knock it out of their hands and stomp on it and say no thank you? No way! You’d be surprised and happy and grateful, right? So when a surprise compliment comes your way, treat it like it’s the unexpected gift that it is! Smile at that nice person, and say thank you with joy, like it’s the best present ever! Because, it is!
Relish the gift of lovely genuine words and good deeds!! Every time you do, you increase your self-esteem, you build up your self-worth, and you unblock your energy from receiving even more great stuff that you truly do deserve. This may take practice, this building of self-esteem and self-worth, but after a while, it gets so much easier. So practice. Practice every single day. The Universe wants to give you gifts beyond your wildest imagination.. so be OPEN to receive them! Begin receiving by having a genuine appreciation for unsolicited compliments, and if it’s uncomfortable, just smile and say thank you until it’s not uncomfortable anymore. For some this is really hard, but stop yourself when you go to brush off that uncomfortable feeling. When you let yourself be who you are, you radiate Light from the inside out. People will notice. And they will tell you. Just say thank you.
Just be open to receive good stuff in whatever form it comes, like compliments, accolades, good deeds, and polite gestures.. and yes, even applause. We all deserve that stuff, and your inner child needs to hear them. It’s ok to receive good stuff. You are worthy. Let them all applaud when you show up and get off that bus! Let yourself shine, allow people to notice, and then cherish and be grateful for the overflow of abundance, happiness, and joy when it comes to you! You deserve it!