By Angela Noel
August 10, 2017
Dragons, according to some myths, hoard gold and shiny things. They gather the stuff up into a big pile and sleep on it. They can’t spend it. They’re giant flying serpents for heaven’s sake. If they wanted something they could take it, no need for a wallet or coin purse. Why would a giant, powerful creature feel the need to find, store, and jealously guard shiny things it cannot ever use?
Then again, why do people hoard things like compliments? Why do humans find it so difficult at times to offer genuine praise or admiration? Or to accept it graciously when offered?Could dragons and humans suffer from the same affliction: protecting things we cannot possibly make use of because of some fear that without that thing we’ve lost our power?
The Art of Compliments
In an article in Psychology Today, The Art of the Compliment, the author, Hara Estroff Marano, describes why compliments are critical to a well-functioning society. Not only must we learn to give them, we must also learn to receive them. But this isn’t as simple as it may seem.
To give a genuine compliment several things must exist:
- Something praiseworthy has to happen
- Someone has to be aware of that praiseworthy thing
- The person that sees the praiseworthy thing has to feel good enough about him or herself that he or she can praise someone else without feeling “less than” him or herself.
- The person being praised has to feel good enough about him or herself that he or she doesn’t try to blunt the impact of the compliment by negating it, or minimizing it’s value.
- Words OUT LOUD (or in print) must be spoken.
Complicated? Yes, indeed. (And I’m totally leaving out timing and circumstances like seeing something awesome and you’re in a car and the other person is walking on the street. Pulling over to the side of the road to deliver an authentic compliment might just be weird in that case.)
Let’s clear the first point up right away. Praiseworthy things happen all the time. But, let’s not get carried away. A child correctly signing his or her name deserves praise. The typical adult doing the same thing, does not. A co-worker turning his or her assignment in on time might be normal course of business. But a co-worker turning a particularly difficult assignment in on time, under budget, and while battling a nasty case of food poisoning, deserves at least a nod, if not a happy hour in his or her honor. In other words, praiseworthiness is relative to the situation and the person in it.
Now let’s tackle the second point.”Compliments,” Estroff Marano says,”derive from taking notice of praiseworthy situations and efforts. So they are a mark of awareness and consciousness. We need to cultivate awareness of the good developments that are all around us.” When you see something, say something. But cultivate the ability to see it by looking for the good.
Simple enough, right? Two down. Numbers three and four, however, might need a little more context.
The Really Hard Parts
Brené Brown speaks extensively about her research on shame and vulnerability. Thirty million people and counting know this. Though she doesn’t directly make the connection between complimenting others and feelings of vulnerability, the inference is clear. If we don’t feel good enough, loved enough, WHOLE enough, we can’t truly see the goodness in others. (Or ONLY see it in others and never in ourselves.) But her research tells us people who do feel worthy are different. She says in her TED talk, ” . . . these folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out,we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.”
To see others clearly, we must see ourselves clearly–and that means accepting, even loving, our own imperfections. And, if we can see our imperfections without flinching, we can also see and affirm our own strengths without worrying we might appear arrogant or full of ourselves. Treating ourselves with objective kindness, means we can now do the same for others.
In the same vein, genuine compliments come without thought of return. They do not demand reciprocation, or come with strings attached. They are, what Estroff Marano calls, “gifts of love.” I have given compliments to others in the past that came not from a place of wholeness, but from a place of envy. What sounded like praise, was really a complaint or lament of my lack of something. Here’s an example–a painful, personal one.
Once, about twenty years ago, a friend of mine wrote a beautiful poem. She was invited to perform it live at a poetry slam.
Here’s what I said at the time: “That’s really amazing! So cool, you deserve it. I wish I could be there.”
Here’s what I meant: “I can’t believe they thought that was amazing. You got lucky. I wish it was me doing that.”
I didn’t talk to her much after that. She deserved my genuine support and love, not my jealousy. I couldn’t give it to her, because I didn’t have enough for myself.
In the years since this time I’ve learned a great deal. One of the most important lessons arrived in my head while driving to meet a friend for a drink some twelve years ago. Here’s what I realized: It costs me absolutely nothing to love someone else and to think they’re wonderful. I do not fade because they shine. Life is not a zero sum game; we don’t win because someone else loses. And we don’t lose when someone else wins.
In some situations, of course, winners and losers exist. Only one person wins first place in a swim meet, for example. And only one person from the pool of candidates can get the job. But there are other jobs and other races. We can all win if we pick the right game. Seeing praiseworthy efforts and calling attention to them doesn’t diminish our own praiseworthy efforts. No giant score card exists in the sky that tallies up who got the most praise, or who won the most awards.
Similarly, I cannot control the praise I receive for my contribution. I can, however, control how I value and praise others. So, I’m gonna. I can spend this currency freely. No limit exists for the number of good things I see or compliments I offer. But–some people, just like the mythical dragon, think differently.
A former co-worker, who I happen to like a lot, once said to me, “Angela, your compliments are, you know, maybe less valuable, because I know you think other people are great too.” This comment had me dizzy for a few weeks. Much like The Big Bang of Self-Awareness, I wanted to be open to the possibility she could be right. Were my compliments less valuable because I offered them more freely?
In the end, after thinking about this, and talking with some wise people, I concluded: The world is full to bursting with amazing wonders. We’ve all seen a sunset but that doesn’t stop us from pausing on an evening walk and marveling at the colors lighting up the sky as threads of clouds skitter past. Each of us has seen a flower, and a child smile. Unique and perfect moments abound. Praising the contribution of an individual in a specific and meaningful way bears little resemblance to saying “good job” like you’re handing out sticks of gum. As I mulled over this person’s comment I considered whether or not I delivered authentic and specific praise. I decided I did, and I do.
Though I believe she had a scarcity mindset at work at that moment, I think her point has some merit. Blanket compliments are transactional and a poor substitute for the real thing.
The problem is brain time and energy consumption. Our brains are built on efficiency. Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking Fast and Slow explores this concept in great detail. We use the minimum amount of energy needed to achieve any one outcome. But that’s when we’re on auto-pilot.
We can control, most of the time anyway, when we use what system in our brains to make decisions. For example, instead of looking at someone and judging them on their appearance, my brain is capable of discarding my stereotypes and consciously re-evaluating my snap judgment to come up with a better one. The problem is, this takes time and energy. So we don’t do it all the time for the same reasons we don’t eat salad and drink green smoothies all the time. First, it’s not always practical and second it’s much harder than grabbing a Big Mac when we’re in a hurry and our tummies are rumbling. The point is, we have the ability to slow down, notice things, and offer sincere and specific compliments to others. But sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to do it. Or we just plain choose not to.
We can also slow down and accept compliments graciously. It’s embarrassing sometimes to both give and receive compliments. I received a compliment recently and had a hard time maintaining eye contact with the giver. I wanted to push the nice words away like refusing a second helping of carrot cake (“No, I couldn’t possibly . . .”). But I didn’t. I allowed her to say something nice about me and I said thank you. My point: Being embarrassed or feeling goofy when someone compliments me is a small price to pay for the very real, very beneficial effects of knowing I’m valued, and my work is valued by amazing people.
So, that just leaves the OUT LOUD part. Blurt it out. Say what’s in your heart. Write it down in a card or a comment on a blog or a social media post. Tell people what they mean to you and how they changed you. Just do it.
I read a book in my twenties by Richard Bach called The Bridge Across Forever. Bach was a pilot and he took his girlfriend, Leslie, up in his airplane. He told her that she should point out any other aircraft she sees while they flew, even if she knows he sees it, too. For one reason or another, that idea struck me as being more than just about safety in flying. Even if I think someone already knows, or should know, how much I value him or her, I shouldn’t assume. Maybe they do know, but maybe they’re having a bad day filled with self-doubt. Maybe they need to hear it again. Sure, I ate breakfast yesterday, but I still need to eat it again today.
However, we all know there are limits. Complimenting my husband for emptying the dishwasher every day will sound condescending, even if I’m truly grateful for the effort. Or complimenting someone because somewhere along the way we learned that flattery makes another person feel good, and we need something from that person so we compliment them not because we genuinely want to but because we need them to think we do is also terrible. Don’t do that. Duh.
But, do say it when you feel it. Open the flood gates and let it happen. Give yourself permission to feel good about recognizing the gifts others offer, and telling them so.
We must give away our treasures–those positive things we see and sit on today. They buy us nothing locked up in the mountains of our minds. We are already powerful, capable of creating whatever we need in our lives. We have no need to hoard these shiny things. But we can use a kinder world filled with authentic gratitude and thoughtfulness; where energy is spent on creating goodwill and not judgments.
We can do it.
Your turn: How do you feel about compliments? What tips do you have for others on how to spread more love and appreciation?
Photo Credit: The people pictures are all from Unsplash where credit isn’t required, but is appreciated. Click on the pics to see other photos from these great artists.
The gorgeous dragon art is by Bambi Khan. She sells these prints here. Just because dragons aren’t good role models doesn’t mean they aren’t beautiful to hang on your wall.
42 thoughts on “Why Dragons are Terrible Role Models for Humans”
Great job on a not so often mentioned topic. I love a compliment and love giving one as much as getting one. Unfortunately it almost always seems that I gave more than I got but most of the time I didn’t matter it much since I was in a position to give more. I always praised a staff member whenever he or she did an exceptional job or a good job consistently. Over time they came to recognize that the praise was sincere and they become just as sincere in their thanks for it. And that was just as good as praise for me.
I’m so glad you persisted! Like you say, we can’t keep a scorecard on who gives more and are we getting what we give back. If I give what I have to give, but not more (so I don’t deplete myself) then whatever I get back is a bonus! I love your comment–thank you for stopping by and spreading positivity at work and beyond.
I am much better at giving compliments than receiving them.
I figure if you think something nice, you might as well say it out loud (or write it!) Otherwise the nice thought is wasted, as the person you are thinking about has no way of knowing. I also try to pass on compliments for other people. So, say you’re chatting to a friend A and she mentioned that she wishes she had perfect hair like friend B…when I see friend B, I like to tell her that we were saying nice things about her.
I think bloggers are really good at complimenting each other’s work. It might be partly because we all know how much we appreciate it when someone says something nice to us – so we play it forward. Still, there is no point in saying something nice unless you actually mean it.
I agree, the blogging community is amazing and very supportive. You make a great point about the power of paying forward a compliment you heard from one friend or co-worker to another. This has particular value at work. I’m not surprised to read you actively find opportunities to praise others. It’s really quite simple–see it, say it. But I still get embarrassed or worry my comment won’t matter. In the end,putting my discomfort aside is almost always the best choice.
It is hard to accept compliments, I wish I understood more about why and what to do about it!
Excellent post, Angela. I’m big on giving compliments. It’s free to do & could make someone’s day. If I see/hear something I can compliment someone on, then I never hold back because why would I? It wouldn’t benefit me. I think people who never compliment other people aren’t happy in themselves. This shows. I’m not as good at accepting compliments, but I’m not bad at it either. I try to graciously accept the compliment. I only ever compliment if my compliment is genuine. I won’t do it for the sake of it and I think it’s painfully transparent when people do. An ex-colleague used to it do this to me at the beginning of every meeting we had together. It was obvious she was just trying to butter me up. It wasn’t long before I became immune to her compliments, which is quite sad really. Anyway, lots to think about in this post & think everyone should read it! (Seriously, how much nicer would the world be if we all gave & accepted compliments joyfully) xx
How much nicer indeed! My son just mentioned how much easier it is to be noticed when he’s doing something wrong, rather than being “caught” doing something right. I know it’s much more obvious to me when someone cuts me off in traffic, than when some person waits a little extra to let me in. Maybe it’s our ancient genes on the look out for lions or other beasties hoping to make us into dinner that makes it easier to see the negative in ourselves and in others. It’s more comfortable, in a way, to keep watch for what is wrong instead of what is right. But, I’m SOO glad people like you are on the lookout for good things and not holding back. The key is being genuine and meaning it–that co-worker of yours may even THOUGHT she meant what she said–but like you said we can absolutely tell when someone is being genuine or has their own motives. I’m not willing to say I NEVER have another motive for offering words of praise. I am definitely aware that recognizing the gifts and talents of others helps them see me in a more positive light. But that isn’t my FIRST motive, mainly because how they feel about me is none of my business. But, I think you make another important point here: Accepting compliments is hard too! Why do you think it’s harder? I haven’t been able to fully explain my own tiny, inward cringe when I’m praised. I’d love your insight.
No, it’s difficult to fully understand why we find it so much easier to make than accept compliments. For me personally, it’s partly my up bringing. Self-deprecating humour was encouraged (not an altogether bad thing) and being open about how good one might be at something was discouraged. I think the British are the worst at this. If someone says they’re great at something, then people will literally think less of them. We are a very modest nation and we love an underdog. But WHY this is, I still can’t tell you. Maybe it’s partly self-preservation? If we don’t think we’re great at something then there’s less chance of us feeing let down when we might fail? Maybe it’s all ultimately about fear of failure? Maybe I’m thinking about this too much ha xx
You and me both! 🙂
I think you hit on something there, though. Our overall culture plays such a huge role in how we handle compliments. I remember reading something in a book about how a person praised someone’s child within hearing of the child–and that was a big no-no. Like it would spoil him or her or bring bad luck. Nowadays, we do praise children to their faces. Some would say too much, and for too trivial of “accomplishments.” I might even agree with that at times.
I also love a good underdog, and don’t love it when people brag. Hubris, as we know, always comes before the fall. Mr. Darcy, from my favorite book, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, says it well, “Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride—where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.”
Maybe there’s something to that. “Real superiority of mind” to me means a cultivated awareness of the contributions not only of oneself, but of others as well. None of us are better than anyone else, we just have different strengths. When we understand that, we aren’t trying to “one up” anyone else. We’re just trying to be our own best selves. Then, if we’re affirmed by someone else for doing something great, it just means–like laws of economics–more of that please. Not “you’re the best ever and clearly a cut above the rest as a human being and should therefore rule as overlord.”
It is a lot to think about! But, I truly value the conversation! Thank you for your thoughts. 🙂
OMG. “I do not fade because they shine.” Genius. Just genius. Thank you.
I was just going to make a comment about this line as well! It is absolutely spot on and something I’ll take seriously! Cher xo
Thank you! I’m so glad you read it and found something you could hold onto in the post. 🙂
What a beautiful compliment! Thank you right back. 🙂
The trick Is to be sincere!
Absolutely. An insincere compliment does more damage than good, as Hayley points out in her story about her co-worker. We just KNOW when someone is complimenting us for the wrong reason. I think this is why I’ve hesitated to approve a comment on one of my posts where the commenter praises my post, but then directs me to his/her blog to an unrelated post. The compliment may be genuine, but it just doesn’t feel that way. What do you do when people link drop like that? Am I being weird about it?
Angela, another great, thought-provoking post. I love giving compliments, and watching someone’s face light up as a result is even better. I am one who also has had difficulty accepting, or knowing what to do when receiving compliments. But, I’ve been working on being gracious and thankful, as I know this is just as important.
I often ponder that word: gracious. We all know it’s a wonderful way to be, and we know it when we see it in others, but how do we teach it or encourage it in ourselves and our kids? The best definition I saw was “generosity of spirit.” But that too has a hard-to-pin-down meaning. Tact, delicacy, kindness. . .all of these added together make us gracious. That’s a tall order!
Arrogance, especially in women, seems like one of the seven deadly sins. And, I definitely don’t want to be labeled “arrogant.” So to avoid that scarlet “A” I over index to downplaying my successes. I still have work to do, too. I wish I could accept praise without that ooky desire to keep the praise at arms length–like even acknowledging it makes me a bad person. I do a better job of being gracious and thankful when I realize the gift of this person’s praise isn’t exactly FOR ME. It’s FOR US–a gift to our relationship–rather than to me as an individual. Even from a stranger, that passing acknowledgement is a deposit in the collective good, rather than something for me alone. When my heart stays there, in the US versus ME column, I find grace more readily. I’m trying. And I’m so glad to find so many others, like you, who are trying, too.
Awesome post! I try to be positive and give compliments to people when I’m around them, but it’s an easy thing to forget to do in our hustle and bustle world. 🙂
So easy! I think having a group like BUYB helps with this. A chance to spend time each week supporting others helps me slow down and appreciate what I love about different people for different reasons. Thanks for reading, Lisa–and for sharing kindness. It is, as you said in your blog post this week, one of the things that matters most!
Normally I’m vocally pro-dragon, but the hoarding of infinite (and essentially useless) resources is one thing we can skip.
I love dragons! Captivating creatures, for sure. In China, Dragons have a very positive mythology (or at least for the most part). So, I’m definitely pro-dragon as well. (That gorgeous print is pretty amazing, too. Bambi is an exceptional artist.) But, I’m glad you agree–the little (big) hoarding problem in the European myths isn’t the best of traits. Thanks for reading and adding your support for dragons in general. 🙂
Angela, you are really good people. I feel like I’ve said this a few times before, but its still worth repeating. (I recognize the irony here too)
And your message is particularly relevant in a world where reciprocity is implied in so many social interactions, particularly with social media. Our social value (a concept I don’t adhere to any longer but can’t seem to escape the term) is determined in part by the amount of time we spend engaging with and “liking” others. If we like lots of other peoples “stuff” then they are more likely to “like” ours. Its as pointless as the hoarding dragon you referred to.
And I’m with you and Brene Brown. We need to appreciate our own value, our own worth, independent of others, in order to learn to have meaningful engagement with others. I have a lot of work to do here, but its definitely a worthy goal.
Compliment accepted, with my thanks. 🙂
One of the things I thought a lot about with this post before I hit the publish button you touched on in your comment. I am not a purist when it comes to compliments. By that I mean, I have more than one motive in just about everything I do. For example, I go to the store to buy food for my family, and also to get out of doing the dishes, and also to buy myself a Starbucks coffee that I get to drink all by myself in the quiet of my own mind for an hour. So, my FIRST motive is completing a necessary chore for the benefit of others, but I have other reasons to celebrate that particular effort, too. I don’t want to paint myself as an altruist. When I compliment others I’m doing it FIRST because I see the beauty in what they’re doing and I want them to know it. But, there’s still a lot of “I” in there. “I” want them to feel good, because when someone else feels good, I benefit, too. I get to see them smile. I get to be the source of their happiness in that moment. I get to benefit from whatever good feelings they might have about how brilliant I am in seeing how brilliant they are. 🙂 In short, I’d be a liar-liar-pants-on-fire if I said I didn’t have some investment in offering praise to others that didn’t feed a part of myself as well. Maybe some see that as being bad. I actually don’t. I think when we see investing as others, in their success, and in their feelings of worth and value, we invest in ourselves and the community at large. A win-win.
The key to me is lacking an ATTACHMENT to reciprocity. If I expect others to share or “like” my stuff because I “liked” their’s I’m doomed to disappointment. When I notice I’ve created “string attached” to something I’m doing, I need to stop it. Not fair to them, not fair to me.
Your extraordinary posts about hiking and the generosity that comes from that shared experience are perfect examples of this kind of unattached giving. You do it because you can, not because you expect anything in return but good vibes–and good vibes are a reward in and of themselves. They always pay dividends, just sometimes in unexpected places, as you’ve told us–you’re devoted readers–on more than one occasion. It’s a message we can’t hear often enough!
Dang, Angela, I feel like we could write each others’ posts! There are so many great nuggets of truth in this post, I don’t have time to comment on all of them. Like others, I was struck by the statement: “I do not fade because they shine…we don’t win because someone else loses.” This is coming from a scarcity mindset, as you touched on. The other – somewhat depressing – thing is, since I work in an alternative school for kids with behavior issues, I see the effects of low self-worth every day. My students don’t value themselves and thus, not only do they not give compliments, they attack each other (verbally and physically). Once this unworthy mindset takes hold, it is really difficult to counter.
I know–I love your blog and love the conversations we have back and forth. What a gift!
I see your point, though, in the struggle you face with your students. I wish there was a magic wand we could waive that turns compassion on in the minds of others. But I know even the wish minimizes the magnitude of the issue.
There’s a beautiful section in the book THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Vanessa Diffenbaugh where her main character, an orphan in and out of foster homes until she ages out, finds a moment of compassion for the girls she leaves behind in her group home. She can’t quite verbalize it, but she uses the only language she can–one the other girls unfortunately won’t understand–to communicate her empathy for and connection to them. I’ve continued to think about that passage as being more than just a nice work of literary goodness. Your students (I’m guessing) may not have the language for kindness, even if they have the desire for it. I know it’s naive to think so, but I can’t help myself–I believe we all (except for actual psychopaths or sociopaths) have the capacity and desire for kindness. The trick seems to me to be having the time and the tools to discover the language to unlock it in individuals who have buried kindness as a survival mechanism. It’s a herculean task. Thank you so much for endeavoring to make the difference for these kids. I’m humbled by the effort you and others make to find that language and nurture it.
I saw a comment on Gabe’s new post about being a Bucketlister and decided to find your blog.
I can’t tell you how much I love this post and your Brené Brown references too. I’ll be delving in to the links you shared during the day a bit later.
I too, love giving compliments and can totally feel your disheartened response to the comments by your co-worker. It’s times like that and the old ‘you’re just fishing for compliments’, being accused of ‘sucking up’ and things along those lines that shut me down for many years. It’s here with Social media I have found my ‘voice’ again.
Thank you for a beautiful post and I love love your dragon analogy. I’ll be telling my dragon loving husband about that concept! He’s a bit like that!
I’ve signed up so I’ll know when a new post arrives.
Thank you again,
Hi Di! I just got the chills reading your comment. Gabe is an exception guy, so I’m not at all surprised that others, like you, who read his posts are equally awesome. Thank you for taking the time to pop over and read my dragon post, and share your thoughts. And thank you for wanting to read more. I’m absolutely delighted to have you.
I’m so glad you found your voice again through social media. I wish I understood why offering praise carries such baggage for so many of us. My guess is no one answer is right for everyone–no one cause for what makes it hard to give and receive compliments is THE cause. But, if we all want to find our way back to giving, as you have, we’ll see more compassion in the world. Compassion that I hope translates to actions both in our neighborhoods and on the world stage.
Thank you again for sharing your thoughts–I hope your husband appreciates the dragon analogy and doesn’t take it as a slight against dragons as a whole. 🙂
I just lost my long reply…It was basically saying a sincere thank you for your lovely and very kind words, and agreeing with you about Gabe…
I was totally thrilled to read your message.
It’s an art to be able to give without expecting anything in return and perhaps people think they must respond in kind. But as you have outlined, it certainly doesn’t need to be that intention at all, and best of it isn’t.
I love your included studies, and the Psychology today link that I will enjoy later. Your style resonated very much for me.
Please don’t feel like you have to follow back…I know life is busy trying to keep up. I found you after your award nomination and hadn’t signed up but all mended now. I just had to let you know. Don’t worry about my hubby, it’s a great discussion topic…
Again, a brilliant post, thank you again,
What an amazing post! You’re a terrific writer and I really liked this. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you for reading, and for the wonderful compliment. 🙂
No problem! I really did like it. I like posts like these… Posts that, like you said, are “about simple joys and gestures of people doing nice things for each other.” <3
Very thought provoking! I know I could do a better job of receiving compliments as I always brush them off. “Oh, you have to say that, you’re my fiancé.” I’m also going to try being more specific with compliments in the future. Great post Angela!
Thank you, Amber! I love that you have an action step for yourself. I’m sure you were already spreading good vibes–but I’m glad you identified a way to do even more. That’s inspiring!
This post was incredible, because it touched on something that few people discuss. Compliments should be genuine, mostly for the other person, and delivered without expectation of reciprocity, in the moment something moves us. I have a feeling that I’m going to love your blog, based on what I’ve read so far that i already love.
This seems ironic, though, because I am here because you liked a comment I made on someone’s blog. It just goes to show that people can meet and grow to like one another because of that first chance meeting, the unasked-for compliment. I think sometimes likes and other such buttons have made compliments seem 100% reciprocal and even bandwagonesque. But then again, if something is good, it’s good. And if someone deserves a compliment, it’s you. 🙂
Well, that’s the best compliment I’ve received all day (maybe all week.) Thank you! I’m delighted to make your acquaintance and look forward to reading more of what you write too!
Your comment has left me smiling–and that is a gift indeed.
I am very glad to cross paths and converge them for how long they will. I’m happy to make you smile. So this was a tiny bit for me too, haha. 🙂 You’re welcome.
I could really relate to this post, Angela. I am not very good at receiving compliments as I do usually make some self-deprecating remark. I was always taught to be ‘modest’ and sometimes made me feel uncomfortable.
I have also been guilty of compliments through gritted teeth, as it were! I hope that I am getting better on both giving (genuine) compliments and receiving them! 🙂
I think the key for all of us is to just keep trying! One of my biggest struggles is actually “hearing” the compliment. Like if I’m feeling low and say something to my husband like, “You never tell me I’m pretty anymore.” And he says, “What are you talking about? I said you looked nice yesterday!” It’s like I have selective amnesia at times. I’m glad you could relate to the post–my main goal is to keep my own, and maybe other people’s, awareness up that we can make a difference with just a kind acknowledgement. Thank you for reading!
My mother used to say, “Don’t tell him that or you’ll give him a big head.” This rubbed off on me, and for a long time I held back on complimenting people and didn’t receive them well either. I was shy and embarrassed when someone complimented me. I learned to change that around though, and now I blurt out my thoughts without even thinking about it. I also say thank you when I receive a compliment.
I think it’s important to show appreciation and it can also help others self-esteem. A small compliment may just change someone’s day!
Great post Angela. Lessons to be learned!
Thanks, Gloria! I’m so glad you do “blurt.” Even if we don’t always say the most elegant thing, saying ANYTHING positive can make such a difference in someone’s day.
Ooooooh! I like this one a LOT!!!! And for so many reasons!!!!
First, I believe that I am stingy with compliments. I’ve thought this for a long time and since having my kids realized that it doesn’t do them, or anyone around me, any good. I loved your reference about spotting the planes… I know that I assume those around me know their awesomeness, when it might not be true. (And I also think it’s super cool that you were so aware and paying such close attention to something from 20 years ago, that you can bring it back into your writing now… that’s a gift Ange 😊)
And as for accepting compliments, I think it’s hard for the same reasons that it’s hard to give them- it’s a matter of self-worth. I have a hard time accepting when someone thanks me for my work and often wave my hand and say, “No problem, it’s my job,” but even a thank you is a compliment and taking it in to fill your soul has an amazing impact (so I don’t do that anymore).
Thank you for writing this Ange. I feel so proud of you when I get to read your writing. 😘
Thank you dear, dear friend. I read this and I got teary-eyed. You are a gift to me and to others around you. What an awesome reflection on what you want to see, be, and do in your life. I’m a lucky woman to have a friend like you. 🙂