What Do You Do With the Love, Once You Get It?

We humans are a pretty complicated lot. I suppose that’s as obvious as gum melting on a hot sidewalk, yes? I like to ponder this particular fact often. I suppose, like most of us, I crave a certain amount of attention, love, appreciation. That’s normal, right?

So, why is it that whenever that happens I get all blushy and bashful and in some cases downright embarrassed? Seriously, the little child within me is a mass of teeming contradictions. She tries so hard to please people, make people laugh, write good things that have some sort of impact on others. Tries to learn life’s lessons and live the moral to the stories. Yet…

Whenever anyone gives her a pat on the head, utters an ‘atta girl’ and in some cases gushes beautifully over something she has done – her first inclination is to deny it? To think, “aw, they are just being nice”?

Why is it, that she can’t just say thank you without embarrassment? Without feeling like it’s not really true, or that it is a pity tip (that is a phrase coined long ago by some waitress, somewhere, to mean that you get a large tip because some kindly customer sees you are having the worst of bad hair days and other customers are being mean to you, so they try to right the imbalance by giving you a hideously large tip to make up for it).

What’s that dizzy, dancy, queasy feeling that snakes its way up through your gut into your throat and makes you feel like you need some sort of medication?

Is it (in my case) just that Catholic guilt thing, pride goeth before the fall, being humble is better and if you’re a good and honest person, that’s how you should feel? Is it genetic? I don’t have the thank you, gene? A family trait – I come from a long line of farmers – so maybe it’s my lot to just hoe the garden and feed the hungry and not expect or want or accept thanks? You see what I mean about the little girl who lives in there, inside my head?

I still can’t quite figure out how to accept a compliment gracefully as they say. My first response is always some sort of humorous self deprecating comment. Sometimes I can take a deep breath, give myself a silent pep talk, force down the blood pressure and just say thank you. Yet, even then the response just doesn’t seem quite right. Not sufficient. I see others do it so well, like honey glistening on flower petals. Effortlessly and gracefully and I think, “golly bob, how the heck do they do that?” I think perhaps I’ll never know.

Maybe some of us, like me for example, are just meant to trip and stammer over the compliments and find a pill that will keep us from turning bright red in mixed company. Probably.

So…how do you handle the love when you get it? Are you a basket of twittering giggles or do you just absorb it and breath it in like fresh air?

16 thoughts on “What Do You Do With the Love, Once You Get It?

  1. I think the answer is to practise, practise, practise. To give ourselves compliments, and believe them (even just a little bit). I think we’ve gotta be nice to ourselves before we can handle others being nice πŸ™‚

    Hey Naomi!
    Yes, the practice thing – you’re right of course, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not to me, anyway. but I shall give it a try. Thanks.


  2. I agree with Naomi but we also need to practice accepting compliments from others too. I used to be the same as you – never quite sure what someones motivation for complimenting me was. Then I started to accept compliments and it does get easier. Start with something that you know that you have put a lot of effort into, and you know is more than worthy of a compliment and then make a conscious effort to accept that compliment. When you know that its well deserved it makes it easier to accept.

    Then go from there. The more you do it the easier it will get.

    You are worthy of compliments, and so are the things that you do. You may not always think so, but you are

    You’re such a peach. You sound like the big sister I never had. And you’ve given me a lot to think about, thanks!


  3. Ooooh. I know all about that Catholic guilt thing. It comes from too much CCD at a young age.

    Just take it, say thank you, and breathe. I think the only thing to feel badly about is insulting those who care about you by disregarding their gifts to you…that love that they want to give freely and without hesitation.

    Sorry if I sound harsh A….so here’s a compliment for you to take, hold close, and accept without reservation:

    You are a beautiful person. An exemplary friend, an amazing writer, and someone whose loyalty is meaningful beyond words.

    Hey J,
    What the heck is CCD? I’m sure I have it, whatever it is. πŸ˜‰

    Have I insulted you by refusing compliments? Sowwy. 😦

    Thank you for saying that – it made me cry – but in a good way. πŸ™‚


  4. Ay me, I know how you feel! But I’m with Naomi – practise makes perfect :-).

    I’ll help you start – great post!


    Aw, thank you, Claire – that brightened my day. πŸ˜‰


  5. I’m a fresh air girl myself. I love compliments and feel free to share the love. It took me awhile to be like that though. Mostly I reply to things like “You look nice today” or “That was a lovely meal you prepared” with a flashed smile and something glib like “I try”. It makes the complimenter chuckle and I feel like I’ve accepted the compliment without getting big in the cranium.

    Love this topic, btw.

    Oooh MS, I like the way you put that – ‘fresh air’ kinda girl. I’d like to be that. How do I do that? πŸ˜‰


  6. Just realize “hey! how NICE of this person to be giving me a compliment”, look ’em in the eye (or in the comment box? hee hee) and say slowly and with meaning, “Thank you.” Make sure they register the thank you and that you are giving THEM a gift right back with your thank-you and then shut up. It’s easy to practice when you aren’t letting your brain keep thinking beyond those 2 words. And focus on the complimenter NOT on you.

    Ok, let’s practice. C: “Annie! You are AWESOME!!!”

    Thank you, C! Thanks, C! Thank you very, very, much. Hehe, tanks.
    How’s that? πŸ™‚ Too much?


  7. Oh good one! I was so like you. And no, I’m not Catholic, so it’s not Catholic guilt for me anyway. Could be that Calvinist work ethic that says I shouldn’t be praised for my efforts. Regardless, you described exactly how I would react. Until one day, someone I was just getting to know (who is still a friend 12 years later) paid me a compliment and I did the squirmy, blushy thing. He said “You don’t handle compliments very well do you?” Well, you should have seen me squirm then!!! He said “It’s quite simple. Look the person straight in the eyes and say Thank You. That’s it, that’s all. Don’t think about it, don’t over analyze, don’t negate. Just look the person straight in the eyes and say Thank You.” Well, I started this tactic immediately, looked him straight in the eyes and said Thank You. I still squirmed a bit, but I kept it up with every single compliment that came my way. 12 years later, I no longer question someone’s compliment. I give them a genuine Thank You, and get on with my day.

    Hey Panther,
    It seems that is the consensus here. Look ’em straight in the eyes and say, “This town ain’t big enough for two gun slingers…” Ooops, wrong movie. πŸ˜† I get it. I will try it. I really will. Thanks


  8. i love to compliment others.
    i hate being complimented.

    i want to say thank you to people but if i just say thanks, will i come across as cocky? Prideful? So i temper the thanks with a little self-loathing, for balance.

    It’s so complicated! So, sorry not to be of any help. i’ll be checking out replies to your thoughtful and deep post for some advice for me, too! πŸ˜‰


    LOL Chica, you and me – so much the same. Are you sure we aren’t cousins or something? πŸ™‚ I wonder sometimes, if maybe we think we need those dark bits to be able to write? I think that sometimes, do you? I think that if I were too happy I wouldn’t write so well or maybe not at all.


  9. I love compliments and I love to give compliments.For me it’s all about sharing love.I kinda know nowadays when the compliments are true and coming from the heart.

    A little story.

    I was at a festival this weekend. My fancy dress outfit was to try to look like a lady. I looked so beautiful and got so many compliments.

    When complimented by the words. ‘You look so beautiful’ I said ‘Yes I know and I’m so pleased you noticed, I feel so beautiful, I tried so hard to look like a beautiful lady’

    I always have a theme in my head at festivals and my theme this year was to share love and hope. I had lots of love heart stickers and a little book of hope in my bag.

    Looking like a very beautiful lady I went around the festival sticking love hearts on people and asking them to pick and page from my book of hope and read it.

    I think when we compliment people when they have touched us is so beautiful to say, I find it a compliment to say and to accept the compliment in the grace it’s given is so free and glorious.

    It makes for a nicer day. I also think when we compliment people we see a little bit of ourselves in the compliment.

    Always compliment and loving ( when I’m not kicking off ) hehe!!
    Di XX

    Oh Di, you see this is why you are so wonderful – you’re like my own little Tinkerbell. I wish I could have seen your beautiful lady dress – and read a page in your book. But I don’t think you need a special dress to be a beautiful lady because your heart makes you shine, no matter what you might be wearing.



  10. I’m one who loves to hear/read compliments. Those things mean so much to me, and yet I’ve been known to be at a loss as to how to respond. I’m slowly learning to say “thank you” plainly and simply. Keep practicing those plain and simple “thank yous.” πŸ˜€ And don’t forget to enjoy the love.

    Yes, Mrs. V, that is the thing – the loss on how to respond. I end up doing a lot of ers and ahs…but apparently y’all know the way. Practice, practice, practice.


  11. While I often squirm at the idea that someone paid enough attention to me to offer a compliment, “thank you” always works as a response. As a child I was taught “please” and “thank you” are “the magic words” and it still seems to be true.

    Hey 30,
    Yep, they are the magic words – though sometimes seem so inadequate. Too, in a place like cyberspace, it’s hard to get the eye contact down, you know? πŸ˜‰


  12. I take it all in and say thank-you. I believe there are many reasons that people don’t accept love and appreciation well, the main one being is that they don’t believe they deserve it for some reason. We must love and accept ourselves first and then we can be open to love and acceptance of others.

    Hey Mark!
    I suppose that’s a logical conclusion – the not deserving thing. But, I think it goes deeper than that – believe it or not, I’ve always been somewhat shy and that has always caused me to feel self conscious when people highlight something I’ve done. Plus, I’m Irish, we don’t know how to handle that stuff. But beer…that’s another story…Pickled egg, anyone?


  13. I think you pretty much described me perfectly. I’m 30 freaking years old and STILL cannot take a compliment.

    I’m always self-deprecating–

    I’m THAT mature!! πŸ™‚

    LOL HW, I’m right there with you. Let’s go get an ice cream soda and giggle like little girls, otay? πŸ˜‰


  14. it was a lesson i learned pretty early on .. i had a beautiful, poised gorgeous older cousin, older by about four years. i remember when i was 13, we were at her house and she complimented me on my sweater and i stammered and said that my brother picked it out and did my usual song and dance, i have no idea what to do. she told me, always just smile and say thank you. she made me do it, red faced and embarrassed.

    but i never forgot and now it comes easy, my heart smiles when i am complimented and it shows on my face and i graciously say thank you. for years, i am sure i blushed and ears bright red, stammered out thank you but eventually it became easy ~ especially once i realized that an honest smile and a thank you makes the person giving the compliment feel lovely, like they gave you a gift, the gift of a compliment.

    Hey D!
    You’re such a sweet, sweet person with such a big heart. I can just hear your soothing and calming voice as I read this. I am trying but that blushing thing is not going away. πŸ™‚


  15. I think a compliment can be more than just words. I loved what Darleen said about the smile.

    When freely giving a compliment or recieving one I find a glow comes from the exchange. I feel the glow from writing and recieving writing compliments – like on our blogs.

    I’d like to compliment you Annie and your dear pets on that groovy sexy dancing you did at Christmas time last year. You were SO SEXY and had the best moves that I’ve ever seen. Giving you the compliment sure gives me a glow.

    Aww!! Compliments are beautiful memories to arn’t they.

    For my little elf Annie

    Wow!! I’ve made about five comments in the last three hours on your posts. sorry if I’m boaring you.

    Di X

    LOL Di,
    You had to bring up the dancing elf number? πŸ˜† It was fun – though it drove me nuts trying to get it right. It took hours. Oh, the things I’ll do for Christmas.

    Glad you got a kick out of it, hon.

    And rest assured, you never bore me. Not ever.
    Annie xo


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.