If you are like a lot of people it is a lot easier to give a compliment than it is to receive one. When people express gratitude for a “job well done”, do you tend to deflect with an acknowledgement of the role the other person played or make a comment like “it was nothing? Or if someone compliments you on what you’re wearing or a new haircut do you dismiss with comments such as, “I just wear what’s clean” or “I’m not sure, I’m still getting used to this new look”? Why is it that we struggle with the simple, “Thank you”?
Maybe it is because we are taken aback by the “divas” or the “divos”, who arrogantly acknowledge every compliment with comments like “I know it”, implying they wonder why it took us so long to notice. These people constantly draw attention to themselves, and act as if they really don’t need us to compliment them as they are busy doing it for themselves. If this sort of behavior annoys us, maybe this is why it’s a struggle to acknowledge a compliment with a simple “Thank You”.
Maybe this goes back to our upbringing and notion when we set ourselves up in the limelight we are simply being selfish and arrogant. If you’ve read the Divergent series, you may think for the most part when it comes to compliments it’s best to behave like those in Abnegation who just want to serve others and never draw attention to themselves. However, it is important to consider that while we focus on the work we do, it is also possible our good work is actually making a difference and someone wants to appreciate and acknowledge our contribution, and when don’t simply say “Thank you” we deny this person the opportunity to be grateful.
There must be a middle ground, a place where we can receive praise in such a way we can be proud without being arrogant, grateful without assuming entitlement, and gracious without being self-deprecating. The fact of the matter is this, each of us matter! Each of us make a difference! Each of us have the opportunity to leave a legacy and shape the future!
If you can work directly with youth, wonderful! Contact your local youth serving organization and volunteer. If you can’t, then support a youth worker by donating at www.entrustedlegacy.org