Most of us are brought up on the ideal that we can be whatever it is we want to be, and we can be damn good at it too. In the same instance we’re told not to expect much praise along the way or as a result of our pending successes.
This mix of signals messes with us when we are finally in a position where we are surrounded with comparable greatness and the compliments begin to flow. The most immediate reaction is a stunned stupor. It’s so rare to be praised for something we perceive as nothing more than our personality, that when our intellect, emotion, humor, or mannerism is acknowledged as something, well, worthy of acknowledgment, it’s easy to GASP! WIDEN-EYES! GASP, AGAIN! FAINT! (If you’re into that sort of dramatic measure…ahem…like someone I know who shall remain nameless.)
Shifting our mindset to embrace less of the stun and more of the flattery in situations like this, will surely elevate the level of awesome that resides in all of us. We’re all pretty damn amazing in our own rights. Some of us are quirky. Others are brilliant beyond comprehension. A vast majority are just plain hilarious; some on purpose, most by accident.
There’s a learning curve here, though. No one is going to wake up tomorrow with the conviction and matched ability to completely ward off the shock of receiving compliments on a trait they aren’t confident is worthy of praise. Unless you’re a mega-douche, in which case it then stands to reason that you are already an epic failure at humility. We can work on that. Word on the street is there are some pretty fabulous twelve-step programs for de-asshatification. ::extends tri-fold brochure::
All of that to tell you to try. Try your hardest to greet compliments with more gracious innards. When praised, always be flattered, never be stunned.
At least go with the smile-n-nod. They’ll never know you’re gritting your teeth.