My particular cocktail of personal issues include pairs that, on the surface, don’t seem like they could co-exist in one person without said person being completely batshit crazy (as opposed to the genteel “Just a Teensy Bit” crazy that most of us are, wink wink).
One of these Odd Couple of Issues is how I have less than ideal self-esteem and self-image issues, and yet still prefer, STRONGLY, to avoid being singled out in recognition for things I do at work or in any group setting, even family gatherings. Wouldn’t it seem like I would gravitate towards the recognition to help coax the fires of my esteem mojo? Drilling down into my perspective roots, I realized that recognition and reward are basically manifestations of intended compliments. I am lousy at taking compliments. Seems I’m not alone in that because, me being me, of course I googled it.
And here a few of my favorite results:
If you’ve not heard of or stopped by Psychology Today’s website yet, allow me to introduce one of my favorite places to dawdle that consistently ranks in the top 10 websites I visit on the regular. (Psst…you can read all of their back issues, like the ones below, here)
What I didn’t realize until recently is that I’m actually on the normal end of the compliment acceptance pool, especially as a female. We’re the worst at accepting compliments. But guess what? The best at giving them.
I used to think that I would be making other people feel bad if I was singled out in front of them as a sort of “winner” and I was afraid people would think I was conceited or a show-off if I didn’t brush it off with some lame way to downplay what was, really, my fricken hard work being recognized. Then one day I found this:
I read this and I realized that by downplaying my own awesomeness, I was teaching others, by example, to do the same. Instead of this display of what I thought was humility, I was teaching self-oppression! That was so not where I had been trying to take people and after the day that I read this, I’ve made a conscious choice to accept compliments, especially when I know I deserve them.
I’ll tell you what, though, it’s a LOT easier to take compliments and the like for things I DO, like work things – things that generally come straight from my brain, that is. It’s still a struggle for me to take compliments for my appearance or anything that I classify as originating anywhere other than my brain.
But whenever I catch myself brushing off a compliment, I do my best to remember that it’s not being conceited and I don’t want to give anyone the idea that THEY should do that. I can’t always catch the brush-off before the words leave my mouth, but I’m working on it.
I hope that you remember this beautiful collection of words by Ms. Williamson (it’s an excerpt from her book Return to Love). I read it almost every day and it’s etched into the walls of my judgmental mind as a permanent reminder.
One of my rules of life these days is:
Always Shine. You never know who else is lost and may need your light to guide them.
Give ’em some light, show ’em how it’s done.
Take care of yourselves!