In the beginning of life, I would accept compliments with ease.
“Oh, you are so cute,” they would say.
“You are so smart,” they was declare.
“Yeaaaa,” they would cheer.
Both internally and externally, I would smile. To be honest, compliments made me feel good.
In elementary school, however, something happened. I was teased and found it safer to downplay compliments. It became enough, or so I thought, for me to know these things for myself without drawing unnecessary attention. On one hand, it makes sense right? It is best to not rely on external measures to define our self-worth. Oh, but there is that other hand.
For far too long I shied away from compliments. If someone gave me one, I would outwardly accept it graciously but internally I would feel immensely uncomfortable. It really made no sense. Why would I feel vexatious about something that I privately agreed with? Was I really in agreement?
For a number of years, I have been correcting this emotional ship. There is no need to be double-minded by fact. I have gotten a chance to observe a number of men around me. I have watched how they can confidently appear in public, but privately express great insecurity. I have watched them professionally chase and obtain opportunities, even when they fail to meet all of the posted criteria. I have had them encourage me to adopt a less compromising attitude about securing my goals and in turn accepting my value. Change has arrived.
A few weeks ago I was greeted by a friend who I had not seen in awhile. She said, “You look so good.” I said, “I know,” and soon after walked away. About five minutes later, I found myself laughing at the exchange. It sounds arrogant on its face, but that was not my intent—although my response in fact was done so with total ease. Guess what…. It felt great.
What I have learned is that to go where I am going, I must have a strong foundation of me. People will always have their opinions. I will always have my truth.
I have found that some people will project their insecurities onto you and if not careful, you will accept them as true. I have learned to be careful. We all have things to work on. Accepting compliments is not on my list.