Imagine for a moment that a thoughtful person decided to give you a beautifully wrapped gift, complete with a satin ribbon tied in a pretty bow. 

How would you respond?  Would you ignore them and decline to even acknowledge the gift?  Would you rebuff the giver and tell them they were being ridiculous to do something so kind?  Or would you tell them they're giving the gift to the wrong person and suggest someone more deserving? 

You probably agree none of these three options is particularly gracious.  In fact, they are downright rude.  And yet, as a coach, I notice that this is exactly how many people handle the gift of a compliment.  This week, I challenge you to receive compliments graciously, and express gratitude for them.  

When someone offers a compliment, respond as though they just handed you a beautifully wrapped gift.  Whether you deserve it or agree with it, acknowledge the thoughtfulness of the gesture.  When someone says, "Your hair looks great today," don't respond with, "I was in such a rush this morning, I barely had time to do it!"  When a co-worker acknowledges, "You did a fantastic job on that presentation," resist saying "I should have practiced more.  I forgot some of the points I wanted to make!" 

Even when everything in you wants to explain it away, take a breath and say two simple words, "Thank you," and don't add any more words to your statement.  Not, "thank you, but it was really nothing" or "thanks, but you did a much better job than I did."  But simply say, "thank you." 

When I receive a compliment, I am grateful, not because I think I'm so great and deserving.  But because a compliment reminds me of how blessed I am.  It is an acknowledgment of a gift or talent I've been given, or an accomplishment I've had the opportunity to achieve. 

Love and kindness come in many forms—and a compliment is one of them.  Think of a compliment as a little piece of God's love flowing through someone else.  Don't deflect it.  Receive it with open arms.  Be encouraged by it.  And remember these three things the next time someone compliments you:

  1. You have attributes worthy of acknowledgment.
    When you allow others to acknowledge good things about you, you are acknowledging that there are, in fact, good things about you!  Be thankful for them, and thankful that others appreciate them.

  2. Humility does not preclude you from accepting a compliment.
    Humility acknowledges where your blessings come from, and is gracious and thankful for the thoughtfulness of others.  Accepting a compliment doesn't mean you think there is no room for improvement.  It's simply an opportunity for gratitude.

  3. Refusal to accept a compliment is often a sign of a struggle to value oneself.
    You may insist that the things you are complimented for are no big deal.  Just because something comes easily to you doesn't mean it is not valuable.  There are innate gifts you possess that are meaningful and valuable others.  Don't discount them because they come naturally.  Simply be grateful.


My challenge to you this week
:

Learn to accept a compliment!

Journaling assignment:
In what area(s) of your life do you find it difficult to take a compliment?  How could you begin acknowledging your gratitude in that area?  How will you respond the next time you receive the gift of a compliment?

Taken from Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter.  Written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. © 2008 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. Used with permission. www.valorieburton.com.

Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy?.