The art of the compliment, both giving and receiving, is essential to making your way in the world. It gets you out of your sense of entitlement and brings you a human barometer of how you’re doing. You don’t have a sense of entitlement you say…do you know how to accept a compliment with grace? The “all in a day’s work” line isn’t it, the “oh I just slapped this together” line isn’t it, so how does one accept praise from others in the spirit of knowing that’s what you’re working toward while not wanting to seem conceited or dismissive?
Don’t deflect. If someone is taking the time to voice that they’ve noticed your accomplishment, or found you engaging, or are happy for you or, or, or, don’t insult them by diminishing their praise. Now what do they do? You’ve put them in an awkward position by making them second guess their choice. And you know what, continue to deflect and watch the number of compliments your receive decline.
Nothing makes me unhappier than to watch people shy away from compliments. I love giving them. I met a woman getting into an elevator recently that had the best red shoes ever. I couldn’t wait to gush about them and she needed the boost to be quite honest. She started at really, you think so? And went on to I can’t believe you noticed them to I love them and everyone else is all they’re not really you. She walked in head down and walked out all full of her red shoes, she worked them pretty good after that, all the way through the lobby. Good for her.
I love compliments; it’s truly my barometer of how I’m doing out there. That, and thank you cards, sustains me through the year. I’ve even got a top five list of them I reflect on when I’m not thinking that much of myself:
5. You never go somewhere the same way twice; you get from one place to the other differently than anyone else. Love that! Because I am my father’s daughter, he explored every time he went somewhere. If I can take the “long way home” I almost always will because that was such an integral part of being with him.
4. You got a way of looking at things. I sure do, I learned long ago that perspective is all you’ve got and as many times as mine has changed it has never strayed from the core of who I am.
3. Your home is so three dimensional. There is so much to look at. Our family friend, Jeanette, taught me that if you surround yourself with things you love that they will always match. If all I’m doing in my home is paying homage to her then I am happy but really if you’re not walking into your home and exhaling at the same time isn’t something wrong. If you’re going to rejuvenate anywhere, shouldn’t it be your home?
2. There is a woman I work with that always greets me in such a way that I know she’s truly happy to see me. Her compliment sticks with me every day whether I’m in work or not. She said I’m always so happy when you’re here. It’s like having to go to a family event and finding out that fun cousin that everyone likes to sit next to is going to be there! If I could have that effect on everyone I meet it would make me so joyful, it would mean I’m doing things right.
1. You can slap someone so hard they think they got a kiss. I know, it doesn’t really sound like a compliment but it is. If you can have the hard conversations with people and they can walk away feeling good about themselves, and you, then that’s a compliment. I received this bit of insight from someone in the Foodservice business many, many, many years ago and it not only stuck with me but became part of who I am. When defending people who work for you, when defending your position, when “counseling” the most thick headed in the bunch if you can stand your ground in such a way that you get what you need without destroying a relationship or a person’s morale you are indeed blessed. I summon this bit of wisdom up whenever I can and hope that it will continue to serve me for the rest of my life.
The next time someone compliments you, simply, say, thank you. Take it in and use it over and over again. The more of these you receive the better off you, and others around you, will be because you’re doing the right thing. As an added bonus those people noticing and doling out those comments will continue to do so keeping your barometer steady and on course. I know like I know.