When someone tells you “You look terrific!” what is your conditioned response? Most of us have perfected the art of deflection when gifted with a genuine compliment. “Who, me?” or “This old thing?” or even “You must be blind!”

How about when you do a fabulous job running an event or leading a project or making a meal?  You hear, “What a great job you did!” and you respond, “It was nothing.” “I could have done more if I’d had more time.” “It was so much better the last time.”

It’s such a shame.  There are so many times that no one recognizes your hard work in putting together an outfit, or perfecting your recipe for coq au vin, or diligently shedding some unwanted pounds. Most days we just exert effort with no one noticing. On those days, we’re wishing someone would recognize our efforts, and when they finally do? We brush off their compliment like a piece of lint. Why?!

For some people it’s a self-esteem issue – they truly cannot believe that they deserve praise. But for others it’s simply a conditioned response. Somewhere along the way they came to believe that denying a compliment was the modest thing to do. Not so! Rejecting a compliment hurts two people  – you and the person kind enough to bestow the praise! It’s like handing back an unopened gift and saying, “No thank you. I don’t want this.” You’d never do that would you?

The next time someone graces you with a compliment, try a simple “Thank you for saying that! It means a lot to me coming from you.” They’ll leave the encounter rewarded for their kindness and if you let their words sink in, you’ll leave uplifted and encouraged. Who among us couldn’t use  a little more of those gifts?

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