Many years ago, a friend and I were talking about how hard it was for us to accept compliments from others – saying things like, “Oh, you didn’t have to!” or “This old rag?” or “I’m really not that awesome” in response to kindness.
This past Sunday, our church’s pastor talked about how it can be difficult for us to be gracious in receiving and that “we should never deny someone the opportunity to be a blessing” with their words or actions.
The conversation with the friend meandered into stories of my mother, Pauline, who had a knack for not being able to say “thank you” in a gracious manner when someone offered a gift or compliment. Mom even chastised me once for bringing my father a gift. It was dad’s birthday. I gave him the gift and ignored mom.
Mom was not always good at being gracious in receiving, not for herself or in substituting for her husband.
In talking about this, the friend and I made a pact. We would not refuse a compliment of any kind from each other. We would accept gifts politely. If either of us responded with non-acceptance in the future, we would give the other one a look and firmly state,
“Just say thank you, Pauline!”
We kept to our pact. It became a thing and the thing turned into habit. We both had to say the line once or twice before it really sunk in and we diligently practiced the gracious “thank you.”
It truly changed the way I react to compliments and gifts, to this day. They are accepted and embraced, which usually makes the giver happy.
Our pastor stated during his message that “we’ve negatively associated receiving with weakness, a misguided sense of humility, and an overactive sense of reciprocity.”
Can anyone raise a hand to that? Especially the feeling that we’re not all that and a bag of chips or the thought we must give the giver something in return because how dare we receive something and not give back?
Been there, done that. It’s hard being gracious, but you can do it.
Dear readers, you are so worthy of compliments – the ones that tell you how awesome you are, how you look swell in that suit or red dress, how you have a beautiful spirit, how your most recent post is the best thing since sliced bread, or how it’s wonderful to be your friend. Accept compliments graciously, along with the special gifts that you don’t always expect.
Pastor Shawn’s final words on Sunday included something very simple. “Be gracious in receiving from someone; allow yourself to be the person on the mat for a change.”
You do not have to deny or give anything in return.
Except for a heartfelt thank you.
This post has been brought to you by a thank you and Linda Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday. If you are wondering what One-Liner Wednesday is all about, CLICK HERE.
Linda G. Hill is the Queen of One-Liners and rules over her kingdom of followers. Check out today’s post and commit yourself to join the Queen’s one-liner army because there’s no fighting or blood, only comradery and fun with words.