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Flawed and Fearless: Accepting Compliments

November 27, 2012

“What a beautiful dress!”

Don was an elegant man. A Vice President for Ford Motor Company, he was impeccably dressed, tall, gracious, and with just a hint of a gentle Georgia drawl. His wife, Suzy, was as much, if not more so.

I. Was. Terrified. Of them both.

I felt gawky and awkward and just so very ELEVEN.

I couldn’t look him in the eye. I scuffed my shoes on the ground. I shrugged.

But Don wouldn’t stand for that. He was, after all, a true gentleman. He turned my chin up gently, and smiled into my eyes.

“You know, sweetheart, the only response to a compliment is to smile and say ‘thank you’.”

Simple advice. Profound impact.

So often we think that humility (or more accurately, false humility) is what is appropriate. Responding to compliments with contradiction and denial.

“Oh, no, I look terrible!”

“I could have done so much better, I’m just not crafty!”

“I’m such a terrible cook!” 

My friend Christi wrote recently:

Being humbled, grateful, appreciative, and thankful were good for me to experience. If I hadn’t accepted the blessings of my friends, it would have blocked their opportunities to be a blessing. I don’t want to stand in the way of anyone willing to be a blessing!

The Flip Side of Blessings, by Christi McGuire

Allowing others to praise us, bless us, compliment us, is just as much an aspect of authenticity as is being truthful about our flaws.

Accepting of our good bits, that’s an act of honesty, too. Letting others point them out, that’s an act of grace. Contentment in ourselves is acceptance of ourselves. Good and bad. Positive and negative. Bright spots and blisters.

If we are to shine His light out of our ordinary, broken, human lives, we need to allow the world to see the light and speak of it. Every argument we make, every denial is putting “I” in the place of what He is doing.

Don’t stand in the way of His brightness shining forth from you. 

Do you find yourself contradicting others when they praise you?

Does receiving praise or compliments make you uncomfortable? How do you respond? 

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2012 7:48 pm

    I’ll never forget walking up to Emily Krisco, a Diamond Sales Director with the direct sales company I spent 10 years in, to tell her how much I’d enjoyed the talk she’d given earlier that day. Expecting her to decline the compliment, because that’s what women do, I was utterly taken aback when she threw out her arms and exclaimed, “You just made me feel WONderful!”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know the psychobabble: I didn’t “make” her feel anything…she “chose” to feel….whatever. I LOVED knowing that my words of appreciation were accepted and meaningful.

    And I LOVE this post. 🙂

    (P.S. Have you read the short story/essay “Eleven”?)

    • November 28, 2012 1:38 pm

      Funny how those memories really stick! No, I haven’t read that short story – I’ll check it out! Thanks Cheri!

  2. Christi McGuire permalink
    November 28, 2012 7:50 am

    Love this! I love : “Don’t stand in the way of His brightness shining forth from you.” Wow, so profound! And thanks for the quote! 🙂

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