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 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 which should be so easy to accept throw many of us women (men? chime in!) into a tiny tailspin.
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 that day any less fantiztastic looking.
Let me delve deeper (briefly) into the notion that, in my younger years, I didnt always grasp the fact 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.
Following my Ah Ha! moment, however, I began to lack an internal monologue & prance up to strangers and tell them 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. It’s who I am. You look great!”
“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.”
Id be lying to you if I didnt say following my bestowage o’compliment I often want to run & hide in the nearest closet.
The brushing off.
The inexplicable “Oh? You too!!”
At times I *almost* wish I could take the entire gesture back.
That’s why today is Accepting Compliments 201: the refresher course we can all use.
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 her in the position of defending her judgement. By reflexively launching into a list of what you perceive to be your weaknesses BOTH of you feel 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 explaining 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 it was an entirely new approach for her. She shared that she was CALMCALM merely because it was the first time she’d tried the tactic.
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. 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 the Tornado. While I could bore you with stories the bottom line is thatchidren, 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 young child pay attention to how she accepts a compliment. Chances are not only will she happily accept the praise, but she’ll also point out 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 (normalize my life a bit for me)?
Please to take your smart, wise, witty, stunning, svelte self & hit us all up in the comments.