We teach our children to say thank you. We encourage them to use their manners. We remind them until it is embedded and almost automatic.
Growing up, I was certainly taught to be polite and say thank you. As an adult, I am quick to say thank you for someone holding the door, letting me go first, or other kind gestures. I am even dutiful about my thank you notes.
Why then is it so hard for me to just say thank you when someone complements me?
Don’t get me wrong, I say thank you first. However, my thank you is usually followed by a ‘but’ or ‘its no big deal’ or some self-deprecating comment.
Compliment my kid and I’m practically glowing with pride. I say thank you loud and clear as I nudge my child to do the same.
However, for some reason, I don’t just say thank you when someone compliments me. I seem to have this internal drive to somehow lesson or rebut the compliment. As if I am not worth the complement.
As young girls, we are taught to love ourselves. Our parents tell us how beautiful we are, how smart. We are told we have worth and we should stand proud.
However, we live in a world that isn’t quite comfortable with strong, powerful women. These women are often the brunt of jokes and gossip about their lack of femininity or arrogant attitudes.
We should go back and listen to our parents. We should stop this horrible, deprecating internal (and sometimes external) dialog. We should stand proud. Stand strong. The thoughts run through our heads matter. What we say to ourselves or to others about ourselves matters.
Our responses to someone’s praise or the words we use to describe ourselves reveal something about how we think of ourselves. That maybe we don’t believe we are worth the compliment. Maybe we don’t believe we are beautiful, smart, funny, etc.
If we don’t just say thank you, then what are we teaching our children about how they see themselves? Aren’t we just continuing the cycle?
Maybe at two or three they won’t get it; but, by the time they are seven or eight they might. They might notice that we don’t accept compliments, that we always down-play them. They might notice that we don’t speak highly of ourselves. They might notice we aren’t that kind to ourselves.
These are not the lessons we want to teach our children.
So, just say thank you for the compliment. You deserve it.
I decided to start today. I’m going to stop knocking myself when I get a compliment and just say thank you.
So today when I was working out at the gym and a trainer told me I was really strong. I looked at the person and said, “Yes, I am strong. Thank you for the compliment.”
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