How do you react to a compliment? Do you hem and haw and make some deprecating remark? Or do you just say a simple ‘thank you’?

I used to feel uncomfortable when someone complimented me and didn’t quite know how to react. My mother taught me well! She belittled me often so my self worth was pretty much zero. I wasn’t supposed to stand out in any way; I was supposed to blend into the background because that was a woman’s place in this world. I was a straight A student; again, that was forbidden – men didn’t like smart girls. So when I won prizes at school or with dance, I was accused of being too forward. Now, I wonder what happened to my mom that made her think that way? But it’s too late to ask her, and she probably wouldn’t have told me anyway.  Emotions were to be hidden at all costs.

So what does this have to do with compliments? Whenever I was complimented I would think that person obviously didn’t know me well, because if they did, they would run in the other direction. Gradually, though, over the years, I discovered that I am a good and worthwhile person. I like who I am, warts and all. Now when someone compliments me, instead of blathering on and on about what I did to look good, or saying it was nothing, or launching into a dissertation on how I found the outfit, shoes, whatever, I just smile and say “Thank You.” That’s all that’s needed. Have you seen how other people light up when you compliment them on a new blouse, hairdo, or a job well done? How does it make you feel to have someone acknowledge you?

Go out and compliment someone today. Aim to compliment at least one person every day. It will not only make someone else feel good, but it will probably make you feel good, too. I don’t mean you have to be overly smarmy. All it takes is a simple, “I love that blouse, the color really makes your eyes stand out” to see someone’s face light up. Or a simple thank you for a good job. You get the picture.

And learn to graciously accept compliments with a simple acknowledgment – you’re worth it!