A few weeks ago, I was catching up with a dear friend who I hadn’t seen in awhile. A few months ago, I cooked a three-course vegan dinner for her, my boyfriend, and a few other people I really treasure having in my life.
My friend turned to her friend next to her and started gushing about how delicious the meal was: “Josh is such a fantastic vegan cook…I ate everything on my plate.”
You’d think I’d light up with a full-hearted, “Thank you!!”. Gushing back at the compliment. Instead, I found myself laughing uncomfortably, acknowledging her kind words with a half-hearted, “thank you”. Maybe I was more convincing on the outside. But my insides sure didn’t feel it.
This isn’t really anything new for me. How I respond to praise usually goes the same way: uncomfortable laughter, sometimes followed by a weak thank you. As if the compliment or praise isn’t needed or fully deserved.
The second time my friend complimented me about my cooking skills, I consciously quieted that critical voice in me and simply said, “Thank you.” And I think I meant it. I meant it as much as I could.
Yet, even with this awareness, another voice whispered, “Fraud”. This story that I’m not really a vegan cook. That I modified the recipes of others. This nasty accusation that I’m not really who I say I am or who people think I am. And this spill into all other areas of my life.
You think you’re knowledgable about wine? But what about this area. You’re not strong there. You think you can run a business? But what about that income you’re not bringing in? That’s the voice.
That’s the voice. Even as I’m writing these words, it’s becoming more obvious of its sinister nature.
Do you ever hear such a voice in your own life? How do you respond to praise?
This is a large part of my own journey, for sure. Standing firm in the midst of praise and letting it fully soak into the depths of my being. To not only hear what the person is saying, but to allow every aspect of myself: heart, mind, and soul to embrace the compliment.
I’m so tired of laughing off compliments. It feels so low. Like I’m continuing to cheat myself, again and again, from an abundance of joy that is my birthright. Like I’m some knock-off or cheap portrait, unworthy of praise.
Oh, how I’m fed up. Perhaps you find yourself doing the same thing from time to time. How about we make a pact? From this day forward. Let’s make a commitment to yourself. Make a commitment to one another.
As we stand, fully in the present, from this day forward, we will say yes to the compliments and praise we receive. There won’t be any condescending, uncomfortable laughter or trying to deflect. Instead, we will look the person straight in the eye, with a smile, and say, “Thank you. That really means a lot.”