I have begun to see a therapist as treatment for my depression in conjunction with the medication I am on. Talking with her this week, taking compliments came up.
I don’t take compliments well. That phrase sounds funny – like I get aggressive you you attempt to compliment me. And I guess in a way I do. I deny compliments almost as easily people say “Hello.”
And speaking with my therapist I realize that this isn’t about being humble. It is being negative, both to myself and to the person giving the compliment. By not accepting the compliment, I diminish the compliment giver. I indicate their opinion is wrong, or not important when compared to my own.
By not accepting their compliment, I am denying myself the good will that is carried with it, and cutting myself down again and again. And, likely, diminishing the chance that people will compliment me again in the future. If I cut down or diminish every compliment I get, people will stop giving them to me.
So my homework, my goal, is to be gracious in accepting compliments, and affirming to the compliment giver that I am appreciative of the compliment, and affirming to myself that I am not undeserving of compliments.
It sounds easy enough, but I’ve got years of habit to unlearn. Wish me luck!