If You Don’t Have Anything Mean to Say to Me–Don’t Say Anything At All

I have never mastered the art of graciously accepting compliments. Whenever someone tells me something positive about my appearance/work/anything, my brain trips over itself and I turn into a lipsticked version of a caveman and garble: “Asdfghj.  Me no cute. No. Blind. You. Akjflkgjlkd. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MY HANDS.”

Why is that we immediately brush off any praise or flattery that we receive? Instead of a gracious ‘thank-you’, or the acknowledgement that yeah, you spent $80 bucks and 2 hours to look this good, we deflect it with a nonchalant “oh this old thing”, or we reverse the compliment to the other person. “ME?! Oh my gosh no. You. You are perfect. I am but a humble peasant in your presence.”

What is so wrong with saying “thanks for noticing that my hair is on fleek today.” (Side note: had to Google the correct usage of ‘fleek’….so. old.)

Example: When someone tells me how perfect/cute/precious/awesome Rose is I usually answer with some version of “Ohhh. She’s a mess.” or something equally blasé when what I really want to do is grab them by their shoulders and yell: “OMGIKNOWRIGHT!?! I can’t believe I made her and she’s awesome and perfect and the coolest/best/smartest kid on the FACE OF THE ENTIRE PLANET.” (catches breath) So there’s that.

Maybe that reaction is a bit over the top–and not really at all gracious, but neither is it gracious to take one’s compliment and unceremoniously brush it aside.

I find that I do it most with Doc.

“Wow. You look pretty.”
“I like your hair like that.”
“You’re awesome and perfect and always right and know everything.”
(Tossed that last one for posterity.)

I all but scoff at him.
And how wrong is that?
Answer: really, really wrong.

If you find yourself unable to accept a compliment, perhaps it’s for a deeper reason than just general awkwardness. Maybe it’s because you (I) find it impossible to believe these awesome, really wonderful things about yourself (myself). Maybe we should all take a step back and try to see ourselves how others see us.

Like when Rosebud walks in the room to see me getting dressed in yoga pants, a sweatshirt, and fuzzy socks and says “Aw-ww-ww. You look soo cutee, Mommy.” I don’t see anything special in the old, college sweatshirt and the fading pants with stretched fabric, and honestly she doesn’t either. She sees something special in the mommy wearing them.

And when Doc tells me I “look beautiful with my hair like that”–the right answer is not: “I always fix my hair like this.” Again. He couldn’t care less about my hair. It’s me. He sees me.

Don’t be afraid to accept just how incredible other people know you to be. Even if at that moment, you feel like you wouldn’t know beautiful and powerful if it bit you in the butt. Don’t brush aside their words, cherish them.

You are only as powerful as you believe yourself to be, so become your compliments.
It might be awkward at first but just. say. thanks.

And well…”if you can’t say anything nice about anybody, come sit by me” -Steel Magnolias

Love and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.



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