This week I have been dwelling on the fact that I don’t know how to accept a compliment from something I’ve done pretty well or even regarding my personality. Most of the time I’m not even aware of the things I’m complimented about. In this circumstance, the compliment gets me by surprise and my immediate reaction is either to disagree and start pointing out what is wrong, or to change the subject as quickly as I can.
I see myself as a work-in-progress, and for that find it hard to accept a compliment for something that, in my perspective, has still a long way to go. What I don’t usually realize is that I will never be a finished “product”, and that I am, in fact, the actual work-in-progress.
It all comes down to trust. All over again! This five-letter word seems to have taken over my entire life! 🙂
Why do we feel embarrassed when someone says something nice regarding ourselves? Is it that bad to be pleased in agreement, thus liking who we are, without giving the wrong impression? Even if that’s not the case, we were taught to be polite and say “Thank you”. Well, in my case I really have to agree in order to say it. How can a simple “Thank you” be so hard to say, and how come did we become so harsh and judgmental towards ourselves that we better accept our failures, being so willing to discuss and ridicule them? Why are we not able to do the same with our positive characteristics?
For me, this is more than a personal issue, it is social. Of course that it has to do with confidence, but also with its acceptance among others. Perhaps displaying lack of confidence or shyness is only a defense towards our strongly-judgmental society. It’s easier to make someone feel better about themselves when they lack confidence than to support their high ego. It is a matter of balance. People feel more comfortable supporting those who are lower in terms of self-esteem and to bring them to their own level, than to support someone with a higher level than themselves. It makes them aware of their own faults and would imply more effort than what they’re used to. However, there is an intermediate level where we all should stay as long as possible: being able to accept that what we are, our core, will please some other people, even if we don’t see it as a something that valuable.
In the end, what we spend most time trying to change, is for sure our strongest characteristic, and will be what the other people will specially appreciate in ourselves.
With this in mind, it’s time to give ourselves a break, accept what we are, and accept the compliments it may or may not bring, with sincerity. Even if we find it hard to acknowledge them, our best characteristics will always show, and thus occasionally be praised. Well, we’ll have to live with it.