Fortune Cookie Friday: Gratitude with Grace
Well, reading this week’s fortune put me in a good mood for about ten seconds. I then remembered that it was a fortune from a cookie and that I wasn’t getting an award.
Now, just because I’m not on the short list for receiving a Nobel Prize, it doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t see my work or something that I posted and reach out to me with praise. I would be pleasantly surprised, and I should show gratitude with grace.
We should all offer compliments more often, but many of us struggle to do so. Accepting compliments can be an even greater challenge. We are eager to receive a pat on the bag, but inevitably we stick our foot in our mouth.
Why We Deflect
Psychologist, Dr. Randy J. Paterson believes that people suffer from “downward comparisons.” He said that we make ourselves miserable because “We automatically look towards people that are standouts in an area and compare ourselves to them…” When we receive a compliment, we already believe we are not worthy of the praise.
In his book, The Assertiveness Workbook, Dr. Paterson mentions a key point about compliments. He wrote, “A compliment is a gift to be accepted. So accept it. It is not a bomb to be defused. It is not a volleyball to be returned. It’s a gift, for free! So be polite and say thank you.”
How to Take Praise
If we want to accept a compliment, we need to understand that it doesn’t make us conceited. We are not praising ourselves, someone else is. We are only confirming another person’s assessment. It is their opinion, and it is rude to discount or contradict it.
Next, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. It is okay to feel a little pride when we do well. There is no reason to compare ourselves to others when we are receiving the compliment. If we improved at a task, we should recognize that improvement.
How to Respond to Praise
Once we accept the compliment or praise, we need to respond. The best way is by saying, “Thank you.”
I know; it seems like a no-brainer, but it really is that simple, and an unadorned thank you will work for any situation.
Of course, there are times when we will want to follow-up a “thank you” to let someone know how much the compliment meant to us.
We can add, “I’m glad I could help,” “I appreciate that you noticed,” “That means a lot to me,” or “I really enjoyed it,” for example.
If others were involved in our accomplishment, we could include them as well. After accepting the compliment, we could say, “I couldn’t have done it without my team’s help.” Including them in this way is especially graceful if the team is present during the exchange.
If you happen to forget to follow up with a “thank you,” write one the moment you remember. It is never too late to say “thank you” to someone.
So, the next time someone pats you on the back, stand tall and accept the compliment with grace.
Thanks for reading my post today. It means a lot to me that you took the time. Have a great day.