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Cant Take a Compliment?

"Putting ourselves down,
is an insult to our worth."
--Helen Ksypka

Have you ever noticed how women dodge compliments as if they're bullets?

You look terrific.
Oh, please; I'm a mess.

That's a beautiful blouse.
This old thing?

You did a super job.
Not really.

What a great dinner.
It was nothing.

It was nothing. That one really gets me. Why do you think we women are taken for granted and treated as if we can and should do it all? When we prepare a meal, a party, or holiday, believe me it's a big, fat something. If someone compliments us, we need to acknowledge that we knocked ourselves out, and say: thanks for noticing.

If you think I'm blowing this out of proportion, let me tell you how resisting compliments hurt one woman's business.

I spotted a top-notch brochure and knew I'd found the graphic artist I was looking for. When I contacted her and raved about the superb layout, color choices and her eye for detail, she not only found fault with every compliment, she cited additional flaws, hellbent on convincing me that the whole brochure could have been better.

Guess what? I ran for the hills. If she didn't think she was so hot, why the heck would I hire her? And you know something? When I studied her work, again, I started to believe that maybe she wasn't so talented after all. (But on the other hand, if she had just kept her mouth shut and accepted my compliments, I would have scrutinized no further, happy to be a new client.)

Perhaps recipients of compliments think that by undermining praise, it makes them appear humble. It doesn't. Instead it sends a message that screams:

  • I'm not worthy.

  • I feel ill at ease.

  • I have no confidence.

And what about the people doling out the compliments? They feel they're going out of their way to show recognition, so even if the recipient rebuffs out of insecurity, it leaves the compliment-giver feeling unappreciated, frustrated, or duped that his or her observation wasn't very astute.

Now think about this for a minute. There's a steady supply of people who seize any opportunity to point out our weaknesses and shortcomings. They stomp on our ideas, dismiss our efforts, and diminish our dreams. So when compliments are handed to us on silver platters, why, oh why would we pass up positive reinforcement?

Because it's an insidious habit, but it's a habit that can be consciously reversed with practice.

If we don't think we look so great today, but someone thinks we do, why knock it? If someone thinks we did an outstanding job, let's bask in the glory. We need to ditch the attitude: "I'm not perfect enough" and give credit to ourselves and to the people who acknowledge us and our efforts. We all deserve compliments. And we deserve to take them.

Copyright 2004 by Helen Ksypka

About The Author

Helen Ksypka is a communication, organizational, and time management consultant. She is the founder of Communication Clout (SM/TM), a division of Born Organized (R), and offers many free tips at her website: http://www.bornorganized.com

Helen is also the author of "Quotes to the Rescue: Wisdom to Help You Live Life Effectively". For details, visit http://quotestotherescue.com


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