The Art of Taking Compliments

There has been a realization and a revelation to me less than 24 hours ago. Someone I barely knew but admired came up to me and complimented me, saying I have really sharp insights to offer in the workshop (that's where I met her). I thanked her, tried controlling my face from bursting into a warm red, and walked back to my friend. After gulping down a glass of water and coming close to him, I whispered hesitantly, “A counsellor just now complimented...." "I know!” he reverted in his usual manner.

The Art of Taking Compliments

In a matter of few minutes, when I was comfortably traveling back home, I felt light. It was the 'light' that you feel on rare moments. When you can receive something positive without any effort or consideration. You just know it was true the moment you heard it. It felt like that sort of compliment.

I am the girl who cannot accept compliments, coming from strangers or dearest ones alike. I can remember, not so long ago, physically running away from people who had just complimented me. Now at least I don't buzz past such people like my ass is on fire. I at least offer them a formal 'Thank You,' as a gratitude for their effort.

Last evening I realized how compliments work for me. So I am going to share it with everyone, because I know I am not alone in this.

Why I was able to accept her compliment with such ease? So first the facts:

  • She was a stranger
  • I admired her
  • I could tell she was not planning that moment to compliment me
  • The part she complimented me about, I knew it existed in me

I knew I had what she was talking about. I could relate to it in less than a second. I have earned and polished that part in me, and it is still growing. I am proud of that part, no matter what!

The Art of Taking Compliments

Now let me take another case here. My partner of 8 odd months keeps telling me quite frequently how adorable, beautiful, and cute I am. Till date, I have rarely been able to receive any of it. So let's try to super analyse the reaction it creates in my mind.

Why I am never able to accept his compliments even with a sincere effort? So first the facts:

  • I feel he is telling me so because he wants something from me
  • I admire him, and cannot comprehend that he can hurt me. Hence, the deadly expectations
  • I can tell he doesn't plan these compliments
  • The part he compliments me about, I feel I don't have it in me

I cannot relate to what he compliments me about. That part was never and will never be a part of me. I have ruined and scarred that part in me, and it is still breaking. I am not at all proud of that part, no matter what!

As Stephen Chbosky says in The Perks of Being a Wallflower," We accept the love we think we deserve.”

I don't think I deserve to be beautiful, so I am never able to accept it in my words or anyone else's. However, I know I possess sharp insights, so I could accept it in a wink.

The Art of Taking Compliments

I am already working 'thread-by-thread' on my self-love side. It involves majority of my issues, or experiences as my partner insisted on calling them (“You don’t have issues. You have experiences” he said.) I need to have that part in me to accept it without an effort. These are the parts which I know I want in my life but have become far-fetched lands of Eden for me, due to the past experiences probably.

Just to be clear, realizing this is not achieving it. I still have a lifelong path to follow of coming together. It doesn't feel scary, even if it might appear so now and then.

In fact, things are closer than they appear! Go figure.

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