You walk into a room. A friend smiles. “You look nice today.”
What immediately pops to mind?
If you’re like many, you belittle the kind words, maybe think, She’s just saying that or I didn’t even put make-up on or She should’ve seen me yesterday. I especially do this when I’m feeling blah about the way I look. (If I know I look on point, I may just accept it. Ha ha!)
I do this in several areas of my life when I receive positive feedback. I’m not alone. I know lots of folks (not just ladies, but men too) who engage in this habit of shielding ourselves from compliment.
Isn’t that weird? Why do we deflect positive input from our life?! I need more good words not less. Don’t you? When we deflate the positive we hear, and if we also fill our mind with negative thoughts (as many do)–our self-esteem plummets. This can lead to a sad life, ultimately to the darkness of depression.
Have you thought about it? When we scorn affirmation, we do one (or all) of these four things.
1. We say the person is lying. You don’t really mean I look nice. You’re just saying that. It’s assuming someone has an ulterior motive for complimenting us.
2. We assume she is delusional. You must be crazy for thinking I look nice.
3. We act like her opinion doesn’t matter. I really dislike when someone brushes off my opinion. Why do this to others just because they complimented me?
4. (Beware! This is the worst.) Maybe somewhere inside we think we are being humble. Maybe we think by discounting compliments we are making God happy with us. See how I did that, God? See how humble I am. Aren’t you pleased with me? Ugh. It’s so easy to fall into a works-centered religion instead of a grace-grounded love affair with Jesus!
So is there a biblical way to take compliments?
Receive them as love. When someone blesses you with words, she is obeying our Lord’s command to love you.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34-35
Give thanks to the Lord! He loves you and delights in you. Maybe he used that applauding person to shower his kindness on you. Turn it back into praise of our dear Jesus.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Be vulnerable. In some ways it’s more difficult to simply receive a compliment than to brush it off. There may be a load of baggage–expectations, fear of failure or success, history of back-handed compliments, etc. Can you but those aside, along with your negative self talk, and just delight in who God made you?
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thess. 5:11
I’d LOVE to hear your feedback on this. Do you battle receiving compliments with out brushing them off? How have you worked through this?
Remember, He loves you like there’s no tomorrow.