Which would you rather receive: a critical comment or a compliment? Your automatic response is probably something like, “What a silly question. Of course I’d rather receive a compliment.” But do your actions match your response? If you are like most people, criticisms tend to stick to you like Velcro, weighing you down by their tenacity and volume. Conversely, compliments tend to roll off your back as if it were a Teflon sliding board, depriving you of the positive perspectives and appreciations you deserve. If you want to experience life on an upward spiral, you need to reverse this process. It’s time to build personal hooks to hold your compliments. By truly taking in a compliment, you have permitted yourself to receive a gift. You feel more expanded, happier, lighter, more generous.
Here are some tips to help you collect compliments:
- Acknowledge the compliment. Say “Thank you.” Notice if your first response was to dismiss the compliment by countering with something self-deprecating, such as “Anyone could have done that,” or “That old shirt. I’ve had it for years.” These types of comments deflect the positive intention of the compliment. It’s as if you are returning a gift unopened. Instead, take the gift by saying “thank you” and relish the contents of the package by letting the compliment sink in.
- Avoid comparisons. Even if you receive the compliment outwardly, you may be putting yourself down inwardly. It’s easy to think of someone else who looks better than you, works harder, produces a better report. This type of thinking always keeps you down. You do not have to be perfect or the best to accept a compliment. Taking in compliments allows you to feel good about being who you are.
- Don’t dismiss the giver. Do you think that the person giving the compliment is “just being nice” or “wants something in return?” If so, it’s time to let go of that negative twist and start realizing that other people can often see positive aspects about you that you cannot. And don’t dismiss people who are close to you, such as parents or spouses, by saying “it doesn’t count.” A compliment from a loved one is just as special a gift.
- Intentionally collect your compliments. Create a compliment box: write down the compliments you receive and place them in the box; go through the contents regularly. Or start a compliment journal, noting daily the compliments you are given and taking them in again as you are writing them down.
So, the next time you receive a compliment, pay attention to your response. Replace any deflecting comments with a genuine thank you. Milk the compliment for all the good feelings you can. Do you find yourself getting an upward lift?