I have been babysitting quite a bit over the last few days.
And it's been welcome, fun, and challenging (depending on the day/time and family!)
Monday and Tuesday I spent the day with a sweet 2 year old little boy, E.
E has the most adorable head of curly brown hair and the biggest blue eyes ever. He's quite the charmer, and he is SO hard to resist when he's asking for something. I'm pretty good at saying "no" and meaning it, but he seriously is *almost* adorable enough for me to give in to.
But he's being well-parented, and is not overly spoiled, knows good manners, and listens to instructions. Pretty impressive, actually.
We were on the way up the stairs on Tuesday for his nap and he wanted to take a toy with him. We reached the base of the stairs and he handed me the toy so that he would have hands free to climb. As I took it he said "Thank you!"
I replied "You're welcome." and as I ruffled his hair added "and you're adorable!"
He didn't even glance back at me as he answered that with a simple "Yes."
I relayed that story to my friend Laura who laughed with me and pointed out "He doesn't even realize that's a compliment yet. To him, it's a fact. You're 2. And you're adorable. Fact. And it's ok to agree with it."
And as we ended our conversation and I hung up the phone I began to wonder.
When do we lose that?
E doesn't yet know that you can't accept a compliment.
He accepts it as fact because no one has told him he can't.
At what point are we told (outright or subtly) that we can't do that anymore?
At some point we are.
And a compliment ceases to be a fact, and instead becomes an exercise in how we can refute it.
For some, it's replaced with false humility.
For others...me included...it's replaced with all the reasons why that's just not true.
How many times have people complimented my fashion sense and I dodged them by saying some disparaging remark about how the item fits, or myself?
How many people have I devalued by dismissing their genuine compliment?
How often do I brush off a remark about my personality with "it's what I do" or "it was nothing"? It was clearly something enough for that person to mention it...so why do I brush it aside?
A lot of this stems from my personal issues and the fact that I may always have the ever-present voice inside me telling me that I'm just not good enough.
But when I choose to accept that voice for the lie it is, and start listening to the Truth, I need to become more like E.
When someone compliments me, I need to take it as fact.
No ulterior motives
No drama involved
No lies to get on my good side
They said it. It was nice. It must be a fact.
It's not going to be easy. But the biggest negative voice I have to contend with is my own. Everyone else seems to gel with me just fine :0)
What about you?