“Oh this old thing? It’s knackered! I’ve had it for ages…”
“Well I wouldn’t have managed if it wasn’t for…”
“Are you kidding? I look like I’ve been hit by a bus!”
“Oh, do you think so? I think I look like a clothed sausage roll.”
“…. Are you trying to wind me up?”
No, I haven’t gone completely nuts.
These are all examples of knee-jerk responses some of us give – often on autopilot – whenever we’re paid a compliment.
Who can relate?
Maybe it’s a habit; maybe it’s low confidence, or maybe it’s just not knowing how to handle it when we’re told something genuinely lovely (you know, coz it’s a bit awks)… Whether it be about our achievements, our attributes or our appearance.
Skilled compliment assailants use a range of techniques in order to keep compliments at bay. Ammunition options include ridiculing oneself immediately; minimising praise into microscopic particles, or delivering sarcasm with samurai stealth until said admirer retreats in haste, reminding them to keep their mouth shut next time.
The trouble is that our unconscious mind can’t filter out the negative messages we reinforce about ourselves in these situations. It simply doesn’t have that ability. So even if it’s an innocent habit to deflect compliments with a joke or a scoff; actually, we begin to absorb that self-critical undertone… and suddenly – drumroll – we believe it.And yes, of course I have done it too! Up until I realised I was doing it.
To begin with, good old Annie Autpilot would fire out some typically deflective remark; and I would see the words leaving my mouth as if they were written in a big cartoon speech bubble. Knowing that I couldn’t just grab them and gobble them up again was enough to keep at it. To just keep practicing… simply saying, “thank you”. Because ‘thank you’ is enough to let that nugget of positivity lodge itself into your belief system. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes… And the better you feel.
That’s the thing about habits – they are only habits when we aren’t aware that we do them. When we recognise them, though, they become a choice.
Just say ‘thank you’. Make it your first choice. And then do it so often it becomes a habit.
It works wonders.