As unique as we all are as individuals, I feel there are a short list of things that most of us have in common. For instance, I’m willing to go way out on a limb and guess that most human beings would like to feel better more of the time. I certainly would. The question is, are we allowing for that to happen?
To ask it another way: Do you know how to accept a compliment?
That sounds silly to me to hear myself ask it out loud except that I did not, and I didn’t realize what it was costing me and some of the people around me.
Back in my more musical days when I recorded some of my own songs and performed a couple of shows, somebody would come up to me and say, “Kevin, I really liked that song. That was really cool.”
I would then say something like, “Well thanks, but I can do a lot better than that.”
Or when I was working in event management and somebody might approach me after a trade show or event and they’d say, “Kev, you guys did a great job. That was a fantastic show. Way to go! Congratulations!”
To that, I might have responded with something like, “Well, I’m glad you liked it. But we didn’t get anywhere near the attendance that we thought we were going to get, but thanks.”
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Dumping & Deflecting
Two things are happening in that kind of scenario. The first is that I’m not giving the person any reason to ever say anything nice to me ever again. In fact, I’m essentially dumping on them and telling them that they’re wrong.
The second thing that’s happening is that the person is trying to do something nice for me, trying to give me something good and I won’t accept it. I deflect it. I don’t allow that good feeling to become a part of my experience and actually respond to it with something negative.
There’s a price to be paid for that. I finally realized it and ever since – and I’vegot to be honest, I still struggle with it – when somebody says something nice to me, even if I feel like I could have done better, I respond with something that I consider to be an inarguable truth.
For instance, I might say something like, “You’re very kind. I appreciate that.” Or I would say, “Those are really kind words. That’s a nice thing to say. Thank you.” Something like that.
A funny thing happens when I allow that good stuff to come into my experience and I actually try to send good stuff back out: I feel a lot better a lot more of the time and I also feel like maybe I’m not doing so bad after all.
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