I have always given people compliments. For me it’s an expression of what was inside of myself. However to receive a compliment was a whole other ball game. I used to at best dismiss compliments when people spoke about my abilities, my insights or my appearance. Often I would be reduced to blushing and mumbling and feeling very awkward.
My journey towards understanding compliments hit a bump in the road one day. I told a dear friend of mine how beautiful she was. Her reply was challenging. She told me that the beauty I see in her was a reflection of what I knew to be in myself. I was taken aback. I was disturbed even. I didn’t want to think she wasn’t beautiful, I didn’t want to think it was only my interpretation of her and I wanted something in return I realised. I wanted to witness the joy and appreciation for the compliment and it was not there. It was as if she had served the compliment right back at me, and it made me question myself deeply.
It took me a long time watching other people and seeing how they reacted to compliments. Checking with myself as to why I was giving compliments. Was if for them or for me? It’s a little bit like when you hold open the door for someone because you are giving a service and yet when they don’t say thank you, you get put out. I asked myself who am I holding the door for really, them, or me ?
My journey around compliments brought me to the conclusion, that regardless of what others do or say , when I compliment them, when I am complimented I realise I have a duty. This duty for me is one of respect. Recently after a discussion group a very attractive lady came towards me, squeezed my arm and told me how much my words moved her, I felt that tendency to go red rising up inside of me. I heard my inner dialogue tell myself it was nothing, I was just being me, I didn’t do or say anything exceptional. As this dialogue was happening I saw something in her eyes that I can only describe as appreciation for what I had said.? I decided to refuse my habitual inner dialogue. I reached deep down in my heart and allowed it to open. I felt her appreciation and let it wash over me. I squeezed her back and said thank you.
What did I do? I tried to honour her process and her journey. I tried to appreciate that regardless of my self view, her view that moment was what was being expressed and needed to be honoured. It was if you like the higher cause.
So my challenge my goal, when I am complimented now is to honour the process of the other. To respect myself the way they are respecting me. To be grateful that their process reaches out to me. To be grateful that my process can touch another. In this way, I make another crack of that circle of negativity. I breathe deep and I let in the compliments.
I want to ask you, beautiful smart intelligent you, who are reading this article, let in the compliments that come your way in life. It’s a beautiful opportunity for growth.
Thanks for reading.