Can You Take a Compliment?

I want to welcome everyone from the Health and Fitness blog hop! If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! If you’re a regular reader, welcome back! Today I’m writing about something that has been on my mind for awhile, and I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say about it. 

When I was fifteen, I got my first boyfriend. He was the first in a short line that would label me a serial monogamist. We dated steadily through high school but were broken up by the time I got to college, although–like most small-town, high school sweethearts–we ran into each other over vacations and holidays until his family moved out of state.

Anyway, this guy (who shall remain nameless) wasn’t the nicest guy in the world. It wasn’t that he was abusive or hit me or anything. He was just unkind. And one day he said something to me that made me cringe. I’m not going to repeat it, because I don’t want to give it any more power than it already has. It was just a run-of-the-mill insult. And yet, almost 20 years later, I still think of that comment.

mean
Taylor Swift totally gets me.

I know, I know. I need to let it go, right? I’ve had many flattering things said to me in my life. I had a healthy relationship with my happily married parents. I had good, sweet boyfriends after him who never uttered a mean word to me, friends who love me and lift me up, and a fulfilling marriage of almost ten years. And he was just a silly little boy. And yet…it’s still there.

let it go

So why is it that I remember those mean words when I could conjure up any of the lovely things my husband has said to me? Or pull a happy thought from my father, who spoiled me rotten? Or remember the gummy smile of my toddler son, who used to pat my face and say, “Oh hi, pretty mommy!”?

Why can’t I just accept the nice things people say to me? Why is it, when people compliment me, I say, “oh, please…” and start listing a myriad of reasons why they’re incorrect? It isn’t just compliments on appearance I have a hard time accepting. It is compliments on my writing, or my house, or my kid. Here’s a good example:

A couple weeks at my son’s homeschool co-op, we were eating lunch. I had carrot sticks, hummus, homemade granola and a hard boiled egg. One of the other mothers, a woman I like a lot, said, “Wow, that food looks really healthy and good.”

“Oh, it’s just because it’s Friday and I had nothing better left in my house,” I answered immediately. Um, no. I packed that lunch on purpose because I’m trying to cut processed sugars and foods out of my diet. So why didn’t I just say that?!? Probably because if I’d said, Yes, well, I’m trying to eat better so I can lose weight and be healthy while she was shoving a doughnut in her mouth I would have sounded like a prat. But I still could have come up with a better answer.

kate
I bet Kate does not let things that stupid teenage boys once said bother her. 

So one of my goals for this month is to accept compliments as they are given to me. To say,  thank you! instead of, awww, no! if someone tells me I look nice. To say, I worked really hard on that, thanks! if someone compliments me on a meal, instead of, oh, whatever. I also want to make sure I’m giving people real, genuine compliments. Not just, I like your outfit, but that sweater brings out your eyes. Compliments that mean something to them, that will really stick out in their mind.

Because you never know when someone will carry something with them.

Can you take a compliment? Have you been holding on to a negative thought that you really need to let go?

 

 

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36 thoughts on “Can You Take a Compliment?

  1. Like everything, I think it takes practice. I think I was like 26 or 27 when I finally learned to accept a compliment. I started off just by saying, “thank you,” and smiling and left it at that. I think someone gave me a major lecture on it… “Paula, you need to learn how to accept a compliment.” From there on out, I worked on it, even if all I could ever get out was a simple, “thank you.” I never negated what they said. As for that guy… words can hurt. But one day you won’t even give it a second thought. 😀

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  2. compliments are difficult. Most times, they’re well-intentioned…but it’s difficult to just say, “Thank you.” I’m always worried I’ll come across as arrogant or too confident LOL

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  3. I ask myself this a lot. Why do the mean things people say stick with me longer than any of the compliments I receive? In my job as a nurse practitioner, I hear a ton of positive comments from patients and parents. But at least once a day, I have an unpleasant encounter, and I seem to carry that with me all day.

    Water off a duck’s back, right?

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  4. Hi, I’m stopping in from the hop. Nice to “meet” you. I want to say this post really spoke to me. Yes, I remember nasty things that were said to me 30 years ago! Isn’t that horrible? I am the first person to make an excuse in answer to a compliment. My boys when they were tots used to tell me I was pretty. And do you know, I had forgotten that until you mentioned it. But yeah, I have no problem remembering the ugly words. I’m going to take this challenge too. Thank you!

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  5. Hello from the blog hop! I loved this post. I used to struggle with taking compliments when I was younger, but now I just say a sincere thank you and appreciate the fact that the person noticed something about me enough to say something.

    On the reverse side of that, I try to GIVE compliments often. It usually brightens my day a little bit more when someone tells me I look nice that day, or they like my hair, or whatever it might be, so I try to pass that along as best I can. I also try to compliment people on something when I’m meeting them for the first time. It usually makes them smile and a conversation can sometimes start organically because of it. 🙂

    So great to connect with you through the hop!

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  6. What a thought provoking post! Why is it we let negative things take over when they are just a very small small part of the big picture? I get this, I do it too. Words are so powerful! I think back to an example I learned in Sunday School, We were all given a small tube of tooth paste then told the tube represented our mouth or tongue. We were told to squeeze out the paste and this represented our words we speak. Then we were told to put the paste back into the tube. All confused we knew this could not be done. The moral of the story is When we use words to hurt someone, just like we are unable to put the paste back inside the tube, we can not undo it. we can not un-hear the hurtful words so be very cautious of the words you use. I remember this example to this day. 🙂

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  7. Negative comments hit much harder, and make me defensive. I always think of things to say after the fact when it’s too late to say them. Didn’t Taylor Swift also say shake it off? She’s not my favorite artist, but she knows what she’s talking about. I read what she said at the Grammys and applauded her for it.

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  8. I totally hear you on taking compliments. It has been something I’ve had to work at myself over the years. I think it’s so hard sometimes because it puts attention on us when we least expect or want it so we want to deflect it. I also find it puts me on the spot and I have to come up with something witty or meaningful to say but I’ve realized I don’t at all. Giving myself permission to just say thank you and smile back has been a huge help. Of course, I always try to genuinely repay the compliment also. Thanks for sharing this!

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  9. Last month I was reading (listening) to Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. She relayed a story about how she was at an event and many of the women in the room were being celebrated. When names were announced, the women would 1 – look embarrassed, 2 – shrug it off, 3 – credit someone else for her success.
    It’s so striking, because I can nearly guarantee that no guy would ever say, “Oh well, I can’t take the credit”. No. They’d stand up and take ALL the credit.
    I’ve vowed to celebrate my being great without feeling uncomfortable about it (even though it’ll take some getting used to).

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  10. I bet Kate has somethings she hold on to as well…we all do!

    My boyfriend 10 years before I met my husband once said to me….you only think you are in love with me because you have never loved before…..ouch!!! Yup…more that 20 years later and I still hear it as clearly as if it were yesterday.

    Accepting compliments is hard for me also….a work in progress.

    With practice and awareness it will become easier for us…right?

    We got this!!!

    Great writing…by the way!

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  11. A co-worker and myself were talking about a similar subject the other day on how negative thoughts linger and sometimes are things we never forget. But how easily it is to forget that someone told you, you looked great.
    As I read the part about taking a compliment, I really need to work on that. I am famous for says, Um, no but thanks.. I should just remember to accept it!
    Great post today, I love reading posts like this that give me something to think about and work on in a positive way!!!

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  12. My husband has said this to me a million times … “why can’t you just take a compliment?” and he’s right. It is SO easy to point out our flaws and dwell on them and it’s even harder to acknowledge our strengths. I think for me it comes from a place of not wanting to be “show offish” or “arrogant” but I think it’s a wonderful goal to try to respond in a way that validates what they are saying and how it really makes you feel!

    One of my ex’s said to me YEARS ago (as in almost 20) that I wasn’t “his ideal woman” because I wasn’t “five feet tall, blonde and 110lbs” … those words have stuck with me ever since so even when my husband says I’m beautiful I don’t believe him. It’s so hard to let those things go!

    But I am going to jump on board with you and see if I can make a change in how I view myself and how I compliment others!

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  13. I agree that it’s sometimes hard to accept compliments! I sometimes wonder if it’s the modesty we feel we’re supposed to have – like if we accept compliments we’ll seem stuck up, when that’s totally not the case! Great reminder to just say thank you when presented with a compliment 🙂

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  14. Compliments can also be hard to accept because some try to use them to butter you up before asking for something. It can be difficult to determine if they are legitimately complimenting you. Usually I just smile and say thanks.

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  15. What a great post! It is HARD to take compliments! I can def still remember negative things others have said to me over the years. In 2nd grade I received a beautiful red coat for Christmas and a {very} mean boy called me a tomato. I didn’t wear red again for almost 20 years…But thankfully one day I decided to wear red and I received so many compliments it was almost like they erased the terrible negative words from the past.
    I love that you are challenging yourself to receive compliments and not make excuses for how fantastic you are! 🙂

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