“Wow you are really good at folding the washing!” I told him with genuine admiration.
“I know” he said.
I couldn’t help but smile.
In his four year old world there is no reason to be coy about accepting a compliment. We both knew he’d done a great job folding the big pile of hand towels we’d washed for kinder. We were both pleased with his effort and results, so there was no reason to pretend otherwise.
But it made me wonder… the last time someone complimented me, what did I do?
Most probably I dismissed it somehow.
I probably said “it’s nothing” or listed all the things that I didn’t do well, or things I should have done, or ways I was not so wonderful. I almost certainly blushed. I might even have turned it back on the complimenter telling them how much more wonderful they were.
Whatever I did, I certainly didn’t just accept the compliment like my boy did.
Why is that?
When someone tells me they like something about me, or appreciate something I have done, why do I struggle so much to accept the compliment, graciously and politely?
By not accepting a compliment I am devaluing myself, and my efforts, undermining my own confidence and also dismissing the other person’s opinion, and yet it has become second nature to do all of that.
And on top of that… am I teaching my children that this is how you should react when someone says something nice about you? Am I teaching them that the right thing to do is put yourself down, or to not be proud of your own achievements?
At the same time I don’t want to teach them to be smug or arrogant. A four year old can get away with telling his mother “I know” after she compliments him, but it is probably not so polite when he is older.
So it’s time to make a change in myself, to be a better role model, and to show my children how to accept compliments with grace…
A simple “thank you” accompanied by a smile should do it.
Are you any good at accepting compliments?
Why do you think so many of us struggle with this?