Self-Esteem 101. Lesson 1. “Accept a compliment”. Learning never ends.

I’ve given the post title in 4 sentances, none over three words.  I am sure this is not the recommended format for blog titles.  Blogging gives me a chance to break a few rules, and well . . . I will always be a wildflower.  Just purchased a great piece of folk art with that phrase stitched in felt.

The first sentance:  Self-esteem 101.  Like a first college class in life.  If you miss 101, you seldom understand 110, or 305.  This is where is starts.  How can you get anywhere in life without it?  Eventually you learn this is not anyone elses responsibility to regard you as esteemed.  Its your job to carry yourself in a many of respect and responsibility for yourself and others.  If someone else is going to treat you poorly, then leave, get out of their path (until they discover there own esteem enough to treat others better).

Lesson 1.  Accepting a compliment is at the beginning.  The very, very beginning.  Even a simple compliment, “I like your sweater”, gets brushed off  with “this old thing”, geez you aren’t projecting positive, your probably a little annoying.  I got into my “who am I” at 30 stage, my self-help reading from growing up female in a male-dominated world.  Lesson 1, accept a compliment.

What does that mean to accept a compliment?  Is saying “thank you” enough.  Do you have a conversation about it?  Do you add in, “glad you noticed, I try really hard”.  To accept it, would be to acknowledge it, not reject it off, hit is away like a fly, or pass it off like a hot potato. 

So briefly, to the point, the title here, four strong sentance.  Things I know.  I really know.  Yet, this conversation, just yesterday, it shows sometimes we will even go to great lengths to not accept, but almost reject a compliment:

Colleague/friend:  “You write well.”

Me:  “I can’t sing.”

I launch into a messy explanation about how I’m tone deaf.  In college I sat out karoke, until I figured out to shut off the mike, and lip sinc. (had to get in on the fun of it).  Can-NOT carry a tune or sing, really wish I could sing.  Colleague, while paging through my first published article  in the American Humane Association Abstract.  Still confused, he says, “this is good work and I can’t sing either.”  He says it in a way I realize I sound really stupid.

Now I try to explain that I was complimented by another writer, and the next day, was thinking how I couldn’t sing and realized maybe I could write.  What if I could write . . . as good as my singing is bad!?  Like somehow what I didn’t get in one department would be compensated in another.  My singing is SO bad, a friend made fun of me after church!  She nudged her Dad, “listen to Kris, she’s so off key”.  Twenty years of bad singing, and just starting to write, that would mean that my writing could be really, really good.  How do I get to be a good writer . . .

He stopped me, and said “Just accept the compliment”.  I said “thanks”. 

As good friends do, they take your ‘crazy’ and make it ‘normal’.  In the middle of a conversation with someone else, as I was getting some positive feedback.  He jumped in “yeah, but she can’t sing.”