IN A SOCIETY WHERE ACCEPTING COMPLIMENTS WITH EASE IS OFTEN PORTRAYED AS BEING SHALLOW, WHAT’S A WOMAN GOT TO DO?
Most of my life, I have been uncomfortable accepting compliments. I did not want to appear shallow or fishing for approval. Little did I know what a hypocrite I was! When someone told me I was pretty and what I was wearing was beautiful, I usually looked at the ground somewhere and said thank you politely. I did not take in what their words meant (that’s my shallow part), because I did not value me over them (that’s my fishing for approval part). However, when my daughters were paid a similar compliment, I made sure they looked the person in the eye while saying thank you. Based on your own life experience, what do you think my daughters have learned from me? You’re right, they have learned to mimic my behaviors, not my words. Consequently, to this day, they both have a hard time genuinely accepting compliments (they look at the ground), because they find it difficult to feel grateful for who they are (that’s the self-worth part).
Now, why on earth have I taught my daughters this kind of harmful self-image behavior? I taught them what I knew, what I had learned from my own mother, and everyone else in my environment.
I was taught ‘being a female is wrong’. I remember my grandmother telling me I should not attract the undue attention of men. Mind you, I was 7 at the time. What does ‘undue’ mean and why tell me this? Didn’t she trust the men she chose to be around her to behave properly?
I was taught ‘words are cheap’. I remember my mother telling me she loved me, yet her words most often did not match her actions. For example, my mother complimented on how smart I was, but then quickly turned around to say how much she actually hated my guts. How many of you believe compliments are given to throw your guard down so there’s an ‘in’ to hurt you later?
I was taught ‘tooting our own horn makes us a show-off’. Don’t know about you, but I grew up dirt poor. I put myself through university, paid my own way. So you bet when I got my first Assistant Vice-President job at the age of 26, I was damn proud! I loved my high heels and my tailored business suits. For someone who had grown up wearing second-hand clothes coming from a musty church basement, I loved my clothes and how they made me feel inside. Seemingly miffed at my success, my oldest brother coined me a massive ‘show-off’. Since when does success equal showing off?
When women are taught being female is wrong, words are cheap, and tooting our own horn makes us a show-off,
what’s a woman got to do when someone genuinely pays them a compliment?
If you are like the old me, you will lack discernment and will most likely look away in shame or guilt while saying thank you politely.
Now, what kind of positive role model is that for our daughters?
To model properly to my daughters how to accept compliments with ease, I am investing in me. I am changing my own conditioning, my own set of limited beliefs. Here is how:
I have hired a mentor / coach. A mentor/coach assists you in transcending some (or most) of the shit you have learned as a child. After three years of mentoring under Dov Baron, I can honestly say I do and feel pretty darn beautiful inside and out.
Before I have a knee jerk reaction (reject a compliment), I ask myself, ‘What is the intent here?’ This is a powerful question by which I live my own life. I have learned that intent is everything. Look into the compliment giver’s eyes and feel their intent. If their eyes are shining and their energy is soft, chances are they mean what they are saying: they truly believe you are amazing! Therefore, acknowledge their beauty within: accept their compliment gracefully.
I am willing and open to receive. Like me, own your value! When someone is giving you a compliment, first stop whatever you are doing. Plant both feet firmly on the ground, take a breath in, feel their words, how they land inside of you, and respond appropriately. You will be surprised how much gratitude fills your heart when you realize how truly magnificent you are. Imagine how your daughter(s) will feel when she sees you deeply walk your talk… Pretty darn beautiful inside and out!
I trust you have found this article valuable. If you are committed to increase your daughters’ sense of self-worth, invest in your own personal development. I am an emotional intelligence coach and I am here to serve women who, like you, want to raise daughters believing their own value.
With love & compassion,
#selfworth #selflove #selfrespect #emotional intelligence #walkinginside