My life partner, Brian…is always reminding me how one of the things that he fell in love with me for, was my ability to walk up to a complete stranger and give them a compliment. It was not until Brian had mentioned this attribute to me more than a dozen times, that I began to seriously think about ‘why’ this seemed so rare to him.
To begin understanding the “why” of why I do what I do (complimenting others so often), I was forced to take a look at how it is I accept or reject compliments from others. Once upon a time (and to be honest…it still is a struggle), I found it very difficult to accept any type of compliment from someone, it mattered not if it were a family member, friend, or a complete stranger….I always had a reject-comment at the ready! If someone were to say; “Oh Loren, I just love the fact that you are constantly smiling…”, I would immediately counter respond with something like; “Oh, thanks for reminding me, I need to schedule to have my teeth whitened!” What in the world would make me jump so quickly to discount a compliment that I had gone to such measures to finally hear? (Two years of braces, countless teeth whitening programs, etc.) Again, LOW SELF-ESTEEM!
Low self-esteem can lead to mountainous regrets in one’s life if allowed to simply run free…, unattended, or purposely unnoticed. So how does one even come to the realization that there is an issue in the first place? Well, personally…I find that in most cases, the moment I find myself commenting or pointing the proverbial accusatory finger at someone else regarding anything, I am inclined, even “obligated” to take a look at the three fingers that are then pointing directly at me! Once I have done this, taken a look at my own short-comings, it is then and only then that I can decide on a course of action to begin the eradication of said short-coming.
I have found that the most effective way of achieving a life change that is personally difficult for me, is to as quickly as possible….make the situation about something or someone other than myself. For instance, in order for me to condition myself to accept and remain humble when given a compliment, I conditioned myself to look for “legitimate” reasons to compliment others. The joy I experience from watching someone’s face light up from my having shared something awesome that I have observed about them….is truly nothing short of a miracle. Knowing that you have just contributed to the positive enhancement of another persons day, or life even….is priceless.
Just think about it, ask yourself; “How do I receive compliments from others?” Are you one of the many who find the acceptance of hearing something positively viewed about you from others difficult to accept? If so, this could very well point to issues of low self-esteem that have deeply rooted themselves within you.
There are tons of articles available that speak to this subject, below is a link to one that I found quite helpful in understanding why we refuse to be complemented by others, and what we can do to help resolve the issue. #Gary Winch Ph.D, authored an awesome article entitled: ‘WHY SOME PEOPLE HATE RECEIVING COMPLIMENTS’ (Psychology Today 8/27/2013) I would highly recommend giving it a quick read.
When we truly want/need to do better in any arena of our lives, the best way to find a good starting point…is by looking within.
Loren Michaels Harris