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Learning to accept compliments gracefully

June 19, 2012 - Linda Lobeck
One thing that I’ve never seemed to learn to do gracefully is to accept a compliment. No matter how hard I try, I usually end up saying that someone else deserves the credit or it’s no big deal.

It’s something I have to work on, because I end up sounding not appreciative of the time it takes for a person to come over and tell you something positive. I just have a tendency to feel embarrassed by the attention a compliment brings on me.

I think we are raised from an early age to not take credit for anything or think of only ourselves. We don’t want to raise children that are so full of themselves that they don’t appreciate what others do or won’t work together as a team because they want all the praise and credit for themselves. I know that’s the way that my parents raised me, and it wasn’t a wrong way to look at things. They wanted us to be willing to do things for others without needing to be told or needing to be recognized.

And I know my reaction is more me preferring to be in the background and feel good just for doing something. That’s OK and probably the right way to look at things, but sometimes I carry it a bit too far.

Recently I attended Mass at my church, St. Mary Queen of Peace in Kingsford. I had received a call earlier from my priest, Fr. Mike, and he wanted to present to me an award I had received for an article I wrote last year on Fr. Joseph Gondek for his 100th birthday. It had been recognized for a Good News award, but was unable to attend the awards luncheon in Marquette.

I hemmed and hawed leaving a message for Fr. Mike that he could give it to me after Mass or some other time and he didn’t really need to give it to me in front of the parish. I truly felt that it was an award for Fr. Gondek and not for me.

But as usual after saying these things, I realized how I once again sounded unappreciative of the comments I received. I know I felt embarrassed, but some time you just have to get over it and grow up. A thank you would have been a much better way to handle receiving such a nice compliment.

I think that I am probably a lot like my Mom in that respect. If anyone ever complimented her on something she was wearing, she’d reply, “This old thing,” even if it was a new outfit.

And my Dad was one to shy away from any attention, preferring to be in the background in most all social situations. Unfortunately, I never heard about some of the wonderful things he had done for people until they came up to me at his funeral.

Even though it isn’t a comfortable situation for me, I plan to start saying thank you first when someone gives me a compliment. It’s simple, but appropriate.


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