Monday, October 29, 2012

Thank you for the compliment

I am not very gracious. I want to be, but I have not yet mastered the art of accepting a compliment. For some reason, I panic when somebody compliments me. If I just accept the compliment, that makes me seem like I am vain. Stupid. Or, if I agree with them, I must be agreeing that I am better than anyone else at whatever they have just complimented me on. Also stupid. When I compliment somebody else, I mean what I say. It doesn't always mean I think that person is the best in the world at that specific talent. It doesn't mean that nobody else has that talent as well. It means that they have a talent or attribute that benefits those around them, and I appreciate it. I should assume the same of others when they compliment me.

Here are some examples of compliments that I have received and how badly I have received them.

Friend: You play the piano nicely.
Me: Didn't you hear all my mistakes? or My brother/mom/sisters/friend is way better.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to play the piano, even if I don't practice as much as I should. (Or just, thank you.)

Friend: You sure have lost your baby weight fast.
Me: I still have ten pounds to go. or It doesn't seem that fast to me. or I USED to be way skinnier.
What I should say: Thank you. Losing weight is hard for me.

Kid: Your bum is really big and chubby.
Me: No, it's not.
What I should say: Thank you. I didn't even get implants! That extra slice of cake every night has really paid off!

Kid: You're the meanest mom in the universe!
Me: No, I'm not. There are way meaner moms.
What I should say: Thank you. I try really hard, and I appreciate that you have noticed.

Friend: You are a good writer.
Me: I'm not as good at writing as Shari/Chris/Emily/Jane Austen/Shannon Hale/Julie Berry/Georgette Heyer/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to write.

Friend: Your house is really cute.
Me: I HATED it when we first moved in.
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: Your kids are really smart.
Me: But they have ADHD/rage issues/social problems/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. They are smart.

Friend: You can sing well.
Me: But didn't you hear that wrong note? or But I can't sing well enough to sing solos. or Kathy/Anna/my siblings and cousins/Shari/Amy/almost anyone is way better than I am.
What I should say: Thank you. I really like to sing.

Friend: I like your hair.
Me: I hate it like this! or But don't you see all these weird hairs sticking out? or But don't you see how crooked I cut my bangs?
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: Your house is so clean.
Me: No, it's not. or Just don't look in the bedrooms. or Don't you see the giant pile of junk on the kitchen counter?
What I should say: Thank you. It's hard to even get my house this clean with four kids.

Friend: Your kids are cute.
Me: But they are too chubby/too skinny/have a giant noggin/have weird hair/are always losing their pants and showing their bum/etc.
What I should say: Thank you. They are very cute.

Friend: You look pretty.
Me: (and this is one of my hardest ones) No, I don't. or But look at my terrible skin. or But someone else, anyone else looks better. or My hair is weird today. or But my pants are way too tight, and my belly hangs over. (This one can be solved by giving in and buying some bigger pants...)
What I should say: Thank you.

Friend: You are smart.
Me: I'm not that smart. or I used to be smarter before I had kids. or I don't feel that smart. or I'm not even all the way finished with college. 
What I should say: Thank you.

I may not be extremely talented at anything, but it doesn't mean I don't have any talents at all. Now, I just have to learn to use those talents that I do have to do more good. And if somebody notices, I shouldn't try harder to hide my candle under a bushel. Because that would start a fire. Plus, I don't really even know what a bushel is. So, maybe I'm not really that smart...


  1. Loved this post! I have a hard time receiving complements too- but I LOVE to give them!! You are beautiful, smart, and skinny :) And have a big bum apparently. I miss you!! I wish my stinky (ok, he isn't really stinky) husband would have let me come visit you.

  2. Thanks for your reminder. I needed it. I like that your reminder was kind and funny.

  3. I am in your boat too--I don't know why it's so hard to accept compliments...but it is something I need to work on. I love your examples though...very funny.

  4. I have that same issue. Why do I feel the need to put everything in my life down? It's weird.