Thank You Therapy Or How To Take A Compliment

Thank You Therapy Or How To Take A Compliment

I’m happy to welcome the wonderful Carla of MizFitOnline.com to the blog today. While I’m having several other guest posts this week, I wanted to make sure she was a part of it. With her busy schedule I (nervously) composed the email and asked her to be featured on my little ol blog. At the time, it was her birthday week and she was mid-tattoo, so she offered to bring out something from the archives and I was all for it. Little did I know, that she would pull out this gem and address an issue that I deal with frequently. Let’s begin.

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Miz, I’ve lost 15 pounds & still have at least 30 more to go before I’m at goal. I don’t want to be a skinny minnie so even that’s just an average weight for most people. Lately I’ve had a friends start to notice my weight loss. When they tell me how good I look I never know what to say. I don’t think I look good yet and I end up telling them how fat I still look and how much more weight I want to lose.

I guess this isn’t really a question. Thanks for reading I know you’re busy.

Ok, even though our emailer was right, & the message wasn’t really a question, I decided to post it anyway.

I welcomed the chance to re-address the notion she brought up in her email: how to react when others give you a compliment.

It’s still baffling to me how these snippets of niceties should be so easy for us to accept, yet they throw many of us women (men? chime in!) into a tiny tailspin.

Whether *you* feel the compliment is earneddeserved or not is, in fact, beside the point.

Here are a few ideas to keep in mind next time a loving sentiment is lobbed your way.

(Today’s lesson is also brought to you by MizFit’s Awkward Moments in Life # 2323: the compliment bestowage.)

About a decade ago it clicked for me that someone else being GREAT at something did not, in any way, diminish my greatness at aforementioned endeavor.

Let me elaborate.

If, for example, I read a friend’s manuscript & am blown away by her writing skills it does not make my writing any less fantastic.

If, for example, I see a woman sauntering down the street looking fabulously coiffed and tell her so—it doesnt make my hair any less fantiztastic looking (hypothetically as Miz’s hair is not her crowning glory. Ever.)

Make any sense yet?

Let me delve deeper (briefly) into the notion that, in my younger years, I didnt always grasp the fact that I shouldnt feel threatened by someone for her ‘gifts.’

I hadnt yet come to the concept that the mere existence of them has no impact on my ‘worthiness’ what so ever. There is room for everyone.

In a glossing-over-sort-of-way (because it’s a post for a different day) Im a firm believer that many times women are hard on other women because they feel threatened (& are
simultaneously too damn hard on themselves as well. again, a different post).

That they (the royal. the masses at large.) have yet to make the leap & realize that one woman’s success (whatever the realm) does not inhibit or mean that they cant be successfulamazing,
too.

Which all, rather circuitously, brings me to my Tuesday Tip Du Jour.

The fact that, following my Ah Ha! moment, I now lack an internal monologue & prance up to complete strangers and tell them precisely what Im thinking.

“You look awesome today! I like to pretend it’s mamahood which makes me disheveled—-but that’s just an excuse. I never looked as pulled together as you do.”

“Wow. I saw how you handed that interaction and had to come up and tell you how in awe I am of your zenlikecalm. I completely would have lost my mind.”

that sort of stuff.

And I needed to stop remind myself of what I preach smile and say “thank you. yes you may take a picture with my phone”

And Id be lying to you if I didnt say that, following my bestowage o’compliment, I often want to run & hide in the nearest closet.

The awkwardness. The brushing off. The (and this is my favorite) inexplicable “Oh? You too!!” make me *almost* wish I could take the entire gesture back.

That’s why today is Accepting Compliments 201: the refresher course we can all use.

A few tips to help us accept kind words, internalize them & neither brush them off nor feel compelled to IMMEDIATELY return the sentiment.

  1. Pause and listen to what the person is saying. HEAR the compliment. Dont allow yourself to immediately respond with ‘it’s nothing’ or ‘I usually screw everything up. I was lucky this time!‘ Sit with the praise for a moment no matter how uncomfortable or ‘unworthy’ you may feel. Take additional time, when you’re ready, to ask yourself *why* you might feel embarrassed/unworthy of the specific praise.
  2. Remember that there is kindness behind the words. When you brush off a compliment you are, in essence, denigrating its giver & putting him in the position of defending his judgement. By reflexively launching into a list of what you perceive to be your weaknesses BOTH of you end up feeling awkward which wasnt, I guarantee you, the compliment-givers intention.No matter what you feel in the moment try and smile in a way which conveys you appreciate the thought behind the words.
  3. Feel free to respond honestly to the praise.While I urge you to accept the compliment there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to explain your ’success.’ I’ll never forget one woman, whom I praised for staying shockingly calm while her own Tornado had a public meltdown, explaining to me that it was an entirely new approach for her. That she was CALMCALM merely because it was the first time she’d tried it.Explain if you wish (“Thanks! I never have time to plan my outfit but I made myself do it this morning. Glad it worked!”) but avoid letting the explanation transition into listing all your (perceived) faults.
  4. (You knew this one was coming) Practice. Practice. Practice in the mirror. Is accepting a compliment not your best trait? are you the type who immediately needs to return the sentiment (not necessarily a bad thing) or put yourself down? Try repeating these phrases as you look at yourself in the mirror.Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it.
    Thank you, I’m honored by your words.
    Thank you, I admire you so your praise definitely means a great deal.
    Thank you I really tried hard on this one!
  5. Be a toddler. While I could bore you with stories the bottom line is that little kids, in general, are pretty much how we should all aspire to be: uber confident. (yes, some of it is hilariously misplaced—but Im fighting the urge to digress.)Next time you are around a child of the toddler persuasion pay attention to how he or she accepts a compliment. Chances are not only will she happily accept the praise, but she’ll take a moment to point out to you one or two other things she does well.We adults may not wanna go quite that far—but a little bit of Tornado’y confidence couldn’t hurt.

That concludes Accepting Compliments 201 and, as usual, I’m certain I didnt nail it all in my post.

Got any other suggestions for our emailer?

Have any good stories about attempts to BESTOW compliments which went horribly awry?

Please to hit us all up in the coments.

 

 

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Thank you Miz Fit. Another great post where you drop some knowledge right on top of our heads. I’ll admit that I am really bad at accepting compliments. I love to hear them, but am just unsure of how to respond to them. I’m getting better, but these tips above will help. Thanks again.

Be sure to check out Carla out here:

Blog: MizFitOnline.com

Twitter: @MizFitonline

YouTube: MizFitOnline

 

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16 Comments

  1. Wow. I needed to “hear” this. I’m TERRIBLE at accepting compliments but I love how you state to remember that there is kindness behind the words. I don’t want to brush other’s off, especially when kindness is so lacking in our society. I’d rather encourage it! Thanks!

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  2. If I act like my toddler, I’ll have to wear far more sequined headbands. ;)

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  3. I think #2 is so important to remember. I think the awkwardness of giving random compliments to people on the street is what makes it easier for me to be supportive on twitter/facebook.

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  4. thanks for having me!

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  5. Miz always knows what we need to hear! Thanks for having her!

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  6. I remember this post well! :-) In my younger days, I always brushed off a compliment & found a way to say all the things still wrong with me or how old the clothes are or anything else but thank you. I still have lots of “issued” but one thing I have learned to do is say thank you – finally! :-)

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  7. I’ve never seen this post before! I loved it! (please accept this compliment without feeling the need to return one lol);)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  8. This post made me chuckle. I think it’s just as hard giving compliments sometimes as it is receiving them! You ever see a girl or guy you think is attractive and want to say “I just have to say you’re beautiful” without coming across as it being a sly pick-up-line or have to follow it up with “on no disrespect intended sir” to their bf/gf that may be glaring at you? Yeah…I’ve been there a few times too.

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  9. This is something I think we can all improve on, but is also something I’ve been passionate about for a long time. I try to remember that a compliment is a *gift* being offered by the person giving it, and to say anything to diminish it is like opening a gift on my birthday and saying *anything* other than “thank you!”

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  10. Miz always has such great words of wisdom. Accepting compliments is definitely something that I need to work on. I think #1 and #2 are key – stopping to listen and to remember the kindness behind the words.

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  11. THANK YOU Christine and Val it is so so so so true. It helped me immensely when I realized I denigrated the GIVER when I shrugged the compliment off. Definitely was NOT my intent…

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  12. compliments towards me used to feel awkward. I’d respond with an excuse why I wasn’t as fabulous as the complimenter thought. But ya know what!? I AM freaking fabulous. emmm, Helloooo! I respond with a big smile and huge thank you now. What I learned was this: I am fab (as we all are) even in the absence of a compliment.

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  13. Loooove this! Especially number two. What a great way to reframe it for us.

    I think women, and women of a certain generation in particular (mine!) feel sometimes that we are being immodest by accepting a compliment. It really is worth putting some thought into and getting over this sense.

    Pavement Runner and MizFit together–I like it!

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  14. Just say “thanks” and move on???? Again…over-thinking things! Time on your hands? Guess so! (not that difficult!-and who cares what a stranger thinks!? not i)

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  15. Pavement Runner & MizFit – now there’s a happy blogland match! :D Loved this guest post, Carla – knowing how to say “thank you” is important and something that many people need to learn. It’s interesting how sometimes saying, “Oh no, no, stop it!” is really a sense of false humility and it’s more humble to accept the compliment and, like you said, move on!

    Something my mom always told me was to share compliments with others rather than keep them in your head. I’m getting better at saying, “What a neat dress!” or, “Your form is excellent!” or, “You’re beautiful” and not just think it. Doesn’t it make your day to hear those words? They can speak life into people!

    Again, thanks for sharing. Appreciate you two! :)

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