The Art of Receiving Praise

Sarah Rose

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0alrm4_0msg8G4W00
Photo byPexels

"Amazing job!" said a woman I did not know, "I can't believe you did that! They should be draping you in ribbons!" she cracked open a can of watermelon flavored cactus water, "is this good?" she asked, and I said "sure," but I meant, "not really." We were standing at the finish line of a race I recently finished, me in my Grand Canyon tourist sweatshirt and her in trendy, mom-jean overalls.

"I really can't believe you won," she said again, "my son is still out there, he probably has an hour left." I didn't know how to react to her praise, so I shrugged, looked away, and said "thank you," by which I meant, please stop. I dislike excessive attention, which might be surprising given that I've written about my life in great detail for many years now. But writing is different, and getting written compliments is different, too. This woman was looking in my eyes, telling me that I was amazing and an inspiration and congratulations on a job well done and it was nice and all, but I wanted her to stop.

Years ago, I wrote about my inability to accept compliments, how they made me uncomfortable because I didn't believe them, and if a compliment, even a genuine one, is in conflict with how you perceive yourself, then of course it will make you uncomfortable. If someone tells you that you're beautiful but you don't believe that you are, their compliment might feel like a lie. I disliked this particular woman's praise because it felt flippant and over the top. I don't perform well because I'm amazing, I perform well because I work really damn hard. And I couldn't say it to her, but I had plenty left in the tank at the end of that race. My effort was not at 100 because I was using the race to train for another race. But how unlikeable is that? I couldn't very well say, "thanks, but I wasn't trying my hardest." So, I just said thank you and diverted the conversation back to the cactus water and her house in Newport Beach and how nobody would believe that she lives six miles from the ocean and is still in Newport proper, but it's all worth it because she has a big backyard and lives only a few minutes from the airport.

Another reason I dislike attention is that it can be good, but it can also be bad. Serial murderers and narcissists and politicians receive excessive attention and look what good it does them. Every famous person to ever exist has had their life and personality dissected a million different ways, and it all just seems so exhausting. When people look at you or praise you, you're expected to say something in return, and sometimes the most honest thing to say is, "I don't know why you're all looking at me like that. This morning I stepped in cat puke and spilled coffee on my crotch and locked myself out of my home by accident."

It isn't cute to be too humble though, or to not take a genuine compliment when one happens to come your way. My favorite way to receive a compliment is to look someone dead in the eyes, smile, say thank you, and leave it at that. Sometimes, the compliment is more about them than it is about you. But here's the rub; it also isn't cute to be braggadocious or smug or to walk around with an inflated sense of self-importance, and that's the thing I'm most hyper-aware of. If the entire world constantly tells you how great you are, you might start to believe it. And if the entire world suddenly thinks you're a bag of shit, you might start to believe that too. It's easier to have a sense of self when your self isn't on display or subject to the scrutiny of other people.

It's been a while since I was a kid, but my parents always taught me to be nice, to treat others the way I would like to be treated; to say please and thank you and to help someone if they need it. Sometimes I still feel like a kid who's pretending to know important things, like how to earn money and take care of a home and maintain functioning relationships and understand the difference between thank-you-please-stop and just, thank you.

P.S. Read another author's take on receiving compliments here, find some nice ways to compliment your coworkers here, or read this interesting article from The Art of Manliness on giving praise.

xoxo

Sarah Rose

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 0

Published by

Blogger | Poet | Freelancer | Ultra Runner Blog: The Prosiest IG: @mcmountain Email: sarahrose.writer@gmail.com

Dana Point, CA
2K followers

More from Sarah Rose

Keeping The Promises You Make to Yourself

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.] “Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes Today I'm writing about confidence, the polar opposite of desperation and wise older sibling to cockiness. If you close your eyes right now, I'm sure you can picture someone you know who is cocky and doesn't that just irk you? Confidence is something to be earned while cockiness is a symptom. One is showy, the other is self-assured. One is overstated and inauthentic and the other is poised. I believe that the best way to increase confidence is to consistently keep the promises you make to yourself. You can't grow self-assured about anything until you have proven your own competency to yourself, and you can't grow competent until you show up. I've known many people who make promises they never keep. Whether it's a friend making a plan they never intend to follow through on, a business not returning your phone call, or a workplace not fulfilling their end of a compensation plan, we all know what it's like to encounter flakey, inconsistent people. You probably don't like or respect them very much, right? It's hard to trust someone who doesn't show that they're trustworthy, which is why confidence comes from trusting yourself. When I was in school, I got straight A's, and not because I was that smart. I studied hard and told myself that I would do the absolute best that I could. Once I understood that I could achieve straight A's, that was the standard I held myself to. Once I knew what I was capable of, anything less was unacceptable. It's important to point out that nobody else would have been disappointed with a B. Nobody can ever be as disappointed with me as I can be because nobody else cares as much. If you let other people dictate what success means, you'll always end up disappointed. When I'm training for a race (my next race is the Kodiak 100, in Big Bear, CA), I have to put in a lot of miles and a fair amount of time in the gym. Some mornings, the last thing I want to do is wake up and go for a run, and hit the snooze button more than once. Some days, I don't feel the least bit inspired to train, but I do anyway. I don't know much but I do know that putting in consistent work is one of the best ways to see positive results. You'll beat out many people simply by not quitting, by paying attention, and adjusting when things don't quite work. The worst thing you can do though, is bite off more than you can chew. Start with something small, even if it's setting an alarm earlier than you're used to (and not hitting snooze). Your promise to yourself could be as small as making your bed every morning to something as large as reaching out to five new people every day to build a business. Stephanie Barros from Igniting Your Spark outlines the following ways to keep the promises you make to you: 1. Make reasonable promises to yourself. If you've fallen short of a particular goal in the past, adjust it to make it more manageable, then build from there. 2. Put your promises on paper. Thoughts aren't solid, and they're easier to ignore than something you've written down and look at every day. Nothing is as solid as words on a page. 3. Do you mean it? The reason many promises fall through is that we never meant them in the first place. I personally don't see the point in making a promise you don't intend to keep, so be brutally honest with yourself about whether or not you plan to even try to keep them. 4. Change how you think about you. It seems universally true that we're nicer to others than we are to ourselves, and we're more afraid to let others down than we are to let ourselves down. It should be just as unacceptable to let yourself down as it is to let down other people. 5. Accept discomfort. Change is uncomfortable, no matter how big or small, and keeping the promises you make to yourself might seem uncomfortable, too. Nobody ever succeeded by sitting quietly in their comfort, after all. "A dream is a vision, a goal is a promise. You can keep your promises to yourself by remaining flexible, focused, and committed." `~ Denis Waitley xoxo Sarah Rose.

Read full story

Comments / 0