I used to struggle with taking a compliment.
“Mom, you look pretty today,” my daughter would say.
I deflected with something like, “Even with this crazy hair?”
Another might tell me that she loved how a shirt looked and I’d say, “Don’t you love how it covers up my muffin top?”
Some might say that I was being self effacing. Humorous. Humble. I wasn’t any of those things.
I simply didn’t know how to accept a compliment.
There’s a lot of reasons that can happen. We don’t believe it. We don’t want to be vain. My inability to say a simple thank you to a sincere compliment sent a message to my two beautiful daughters, as I bounced back their kindness with a negative. I was telling them that I wasn’t worthy of their sincere words. I was pointing out what was wrong, even as they dropped encouragement into my heart.
I also sent a message that if things aren’t perfect, you can’t accept a compliment.
Ouch, ouch, ouch!
I’m thankful for two strong girls who didn’t let me get away with it.
Though this was years ago, breaking that bad habit truly changed the way I received a compliment. It also opened my ears to hear how easily so many of us fall into that same trap.
I started hearing these words from my sisters in Christ.
“I love those shoes.”
“Oh, they were on sale. Cheap as dirt.”
“I love the message you shared.”
“Yeah, if only I hadn’t been so nervous. I messed up at the end.”
“You look nice today.”
“Oh girl, you must need glasses.”
Like a game of verbal ping pong we negate the good, bringing it down a notch. . . or two or three.
Why is a simple thank you so important?
My friend, Lynn Cowell, is author of a book for tweens called Brave Beauty. One day we were talking and she shared a statistic that floored me. She said that most girls develop a sense of confidence (or not) by the age of 9. That’s the age when they start to see themselves through the eyes of others. That’s the age when they start to wonder if something is wrong with them. That’s the age when they either build or tear down who they are as they look in the mirror or walk onto school grounds.
As a mom to two beautiful women and a “Gaga” to three little girls, I want to be an example of a strong, faith-filled, confident woman.
The first way I can do that is to evaluable the words I say about my own self-worth when someone shares a compliment.
Suzie, I loved that message.
Thank you, that’s really kind of you.
Suzie, those are killer shoes.
I really like them too. Do you want to know where I found them?
Suzie, I see Jesus in you.
What a beautiful thing to say.
Today, your challenge is simple.
Maybe it’s easy for you to give someone else a compliment, but today your challenge is to receive those that come your way. If we want the next generation to believe our compliments are sincere, we begin by being able to take one ourselves.
Day #18 of Living a Life of Thank You
Q: Why might you struggle to take a compliment?
Q: Why might this be important spiritually?
- If you are afraid it will lead to vanity or pride, reflect instead of deflect.
Thank God for that kind friend who went out of her way to say something nice. Thank God for those comfortable shoes that also are fun to wear. Thank God that someone was blessed by your message, even though you were nervous or made a mistake somewhere at the end. This totally changes the compliment into a time of intentional gratitude!
This would be a fabulous Christmas, New Year, or birthday gift for a tween girl in your life. It’s rich. It’s relevant. It shows her what true beauty looks like, and the value she has to God.
Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You by Lynn Cowell