Hi there. Yeah, you. I think you’re a really smart and charming person.
No, really! I mean it. And if you leave me a note after reading this post, I’ll take the time to personally tell you what’s great about you, too.
And I mean honest-to-goodness, wholehearted, modesty-exempt acceptance?
Was it yesterday?
Was it a few weeks ago?
Was it just now, when I told you you were charming and smart and a wonderful human being who has somehow found this hideaway blog of mine?
(And if it was that last one–good on you!)
Recently I watched this video about the power of accepting compliments. I am a complete sucker for Making Life Meaningful clips. In the video, these social science-y folks do an experiment where couples split up and the one with lower self-esteem gets complimented–genuine compliments, mind you–by their partner.
And here’s the best part: the first person has to accept the compliment with only the words, “thank you.”
The idea behind this experiment is that accepting genuine compliments is a) hard for people who tend to have lower self-esteem, and b) great for boosting self-confidence, since the act of acceptance allows us to reflect on ourselves positively.
Now, I can honestly tell you that I suck at accepting compliments. My ability to accept them is inversely proportional to the amount of chocolate I have consumed on any given day, so if you have the godforsaken misfortune to catch me on a day sans Chocolat, be prepared to have your compliments shot down to the point of awkward embarrassment. I usually enter any conversation armed with an arsenal of “no’s,” “it’s really not’s,” and “no seriously, it’s nothing’s.”
It’s not Compliment Fishing. I’d rather call it Anti-Compliment Defense Ballistics.
I’m not (yet) great at accepting praise I don’t think I’ve earned, which is 95% of the time, and I’m pretty sure I cultivated this defense system because I grew up hearing about how So-And-So had gotten the title of Valedictorian while I had received an A- in Art, Lord have mercy on my subpar soul.
Don’t even get me started on the number of guys who were “paying compliments” wayyy before I had any idea what was going on, just because it never registered that anyone would ever want to do such a thing.
But before you start thinking I have a complete and concerning inferiority complex, I certainly am getting better at accepting compliments now that I know what to look for. The most frequent one I receive is still mildly (but really only mildly) embarassing: it’s about how much I smile.
Total strangers (usually older folk) will come up to me and tell me that I need to keep up that smile. Recently, a friend told me that I make her feel awesome because I always smile, no matter how incredibly dumb a thing she has just said. And one time I went swing dancing at a downtown venue and my partner shouted to me as he spun me around, “That SMILE! Just look at you!”
Most of the time when I hear this now, I’ll just grin even wider, maybe shuffle my shoes, and not say anything at all. Inside I feel pretty self-conscious, but really, it’s high time I learned to take the compliment, not overthink, and just roll with it.
Yeah, I smile. And yeah, I’ll take that compliment!
That’s why I was a good girl when it came to accepting compliments about today’s recipe. This weekend, I made Lemon Curd Coffee Crumble Cake (recipe coming next Sunday!), some of the Gochujang Peanut Pasta you all loved, and these Healthy Sticky Brownies I adapted from the inestimable Izy over at Top with Cinnamon, whose blog I consider in my Top 10 Favorites. If for some incredible reason (say, alien abduction) you haven’t visited her blog before, you need to. This girl pulls out all the stops with her photography and stunning, inventive recipes.
So when my friends all swooned over this incredibly moist recipe and told me it tasted like a chocolatey heaven with the texture of a Fig Newton, I was ecstatic. Rather than gunning down their praise, I smiled and simply said, “Thank you.”
Because deep down inside, I know that they’re right. And it’s not such a bad thing sometimes to let others make you feel good about yourself. This is why I love baking and blogging so much–talk about affirmation community central!
And of course, the chocolate always helps.
So…what compliment can I pay you today? Leave a comment, I’d be so happy to meet your charming lovely self!