Sunday, January 24, 2010

3 Simple Ways To Gracefully say "Thank You"

I was having lunch with a girlfriend the other day: she's by far one of the classiest, most beautiful and interesting women I know. She's funny and she's wise and she doesn't look her 57 years of age, whatever that means these days.

I happened to mention that I loved the color blue she was wearing, a beautiful pashmina wrapped around her upper body. I told her how it made her eyes "stand out". She immediately deflected the compliment and waved her hand while telling me how old the wrap was and how she needed to get a new one.

Why is it, that many of us women, have such a hard time accepting a compliment? Why are we so quick to "poo-pooh" every bit of flattery that we receive? Haven't we earned the right to be praised for our accomplishments even if they seem as mundane as great taste in picking the right color?
I have to admit I used to be one of those women who had a hard time taking a compliment of any kind. One day, years ago,  a very good friend of mine shared how offended she was that I had not accepted her gift: to her, my refusal to accept a well-deserved compliment, felt as if I had returned a present she had picked out especially for me. Right then and there I got it.. and never again ran so quickly to deflect or minimize honest, genuine, loving praise.
I am so grateful for that lesson. Using the following these tips has helped me stay "on track":

1. Acknowledge the kindness of the compliment or praise: If a co-worker admires your beautiful shoes or your new hairstyle, do not dismiss it. Instead, respond with a simple "thank you". That's it, you don't' have to say much more than that.
2. Silence the inner critic: Take a deep breath and shift the negative thinking to a kinder internal dialogue. Your brother-in-law didn't say you were very photogenic because he thinks you look less attractive in real life but simply because you look fabulous on that wedding photo!
3. Be gracious and grateful: Even if it's difficult for you to believe the compliment, recognize that from the point of view of the soul offering you the praise, it was well intentioned and you can be grateful that they decided to share it with you!

Remember, your children are watching you. What a great lesson in confidence for your little ones when mommy can give AND accept a compliment!

P.S.: Can you remember the last time you refused a compliment? Is it easier to accept a compliment from others when it comes to your kids? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one!


  1. Could it be a generation thing? My MIL told me a while back that it's impolite to say "Thank you" to a compliment, that you should always deflect. It has been tough to remember to do that around her. There's also a cultural thing too--in Chinese culture, you're not supposed to compliment kids in front of them, which is tough for me to do!

  2. GREAt tips! I do this a lot with my boyfriend... I need to stop...

    Thanks for the reminder! With 5 daughters.. I want them to know how to do this.

  3. Hi Loved it. It is so true. Hey I live just a little south of you In Kelso. check out my blog let me know if you like it :)
    My first book is hitting the National markets March 1st. Just so you know I followed you here from twitter. Have a great day.

  4. What a great spread of thoughts you all shared here!
    Chieni, how fascinating the perspective from the Chinese culture and the views from different generations.. My MIL shares the same beliefs and she has slowly recognized with time that we are doing what we believe is best.
    Lilith.. Kudos to you for taking the time to consider how to instill the value of graciousness and confidence in your girls.. No small feat when there are 5 of them!!!
    Jane, CONGRATULATIONS on your new book.. that's exciting!! I look forward reading your blog and getting to know more about what you do!
    Thanks everyone for your great feedback!