Welcome to Group Therapy Day, Week Three.
Since last week’s Therapy Day I’ve been thinking a lot about compliments. I’ve discussed before how difficult it is for me to accept a compliment and I know that for me it is directly related to low self-esteem. Refusing a compliment not only affects me, it also affects the person who’s taken the time to say something nice to me. I decided that before the challenge was over I simply had to make a solid attempt at understanding why I do this to myself. Some serious journaling and a little reflection led me to today’s update post.
Think back for a second and ask yourself if you had one good moment recently where you either willingly accepted a compliment or gave one to yourself. Maybe you had both kids wrapped around each leg while trying to fish the remote from the toilet bowl and you whispered, ‘I am a patient person and a good parent’. Or maybe you were at the gym and someone came up to you after a workout and complimented you on how unbelievable you were when pushing around those 25 pound weights (Veronica!).
Here’s a couple of questions:
If someone came up to you and said, ‘You have such a good kid there; I think you’re a really good parent.’ How would you respond?
a) Oh, believe me I’m not! I’m a rotten parent; I don’t even remember the last time that kid had a bath.
b) Well, thank you. That Johnny is a handful but he’s a good kid. One thing I’ve noticed that helps me to be a better parent is………
I bet you’d pick (b) as your answer.
Let’s say you worked on an important project and put in a great deal of time to make it the best it could be. Someone comes up to you and says, ‘You really did a great job in there. That took a lot of effort and everything looked perfect!’ Would you respond by saying,
a) Thank you for saying that! I really needed to hear it; I never dreamed it would take me that long to get everything in order. It does look nice, though – doesn’t it? or,
b) It’s not good enough though; nothing I do ever is.
Of course (a) would be the appropriate answer and I bet you’d not only say it, I bet you’d believe it, too. I believe we are more inclined to receive compliments for things that we believe to be true.
The other day I was visiting with my neighbor. Her daughter stopped over as well and I happened to be wearing a short sleeved t-shirt. Out of the blue, the daughter (who is roughly my age) said, ‘You have such nicely toned arms! They look very athletic; how do you get them to look like that?’ I was floored by this obvious compliment. Me? Toned arms? Come on!
Here’s what I probably would have said a couple of months ago:
These bat wings? Here, LOOK at the flab that dangles from side to side when I wiggle my arms about. If I flapped hard enough I could fly away right now!
Instead I quickly replaced all of that negativity with truths in that statement: I started thinking about the 5 pound weights that I bought several weeks ago because the 2 pounders were too light; and how the 5 pounders are now becoming too light. I reminded myself of the day before, doing plank push-ups – ME doing plank push-ups! I said, ‘thank you. I’ve been using free weights; it seems to be working pretty well.’
I accepted that compliment. I accepted the fact that what she perceived to be true was entirely possible.
This all stems from taking pride in what I am doing. The more I take pride in myself, the better I’ll be at accepting compliments from others – and from myself.
Have a great session, everyone and don’t forget to check the notify me of follow-up comments via email box so that you can have other participants’ updates sent to your email if you are interested.