Take the Compliment

Posted by Luke McMeeken-Ruscoe on

I have never felt attractive, well very very rarely. I was 6'6" or 2m when I was 13 and very skinny with my body trying to keep up with my growth. I always felt different and left out. At the 3rd form dance, everyone would awkwardly stand in a circle, too embarrassed to dance with someone, I guess there is safety in numbers. I would get asked to stand on the outside because I could still "see in" to the circle. 

Shaving makes me feel a tiny bit more handsome. I have played with the idea of doing an ad about the number of blades we have on our razors, go from a 3 to a 5 so you can go from a 5 to a 6. We would call ourselves a 10.

I think it's funny that Kiwi's are so bad at taking a compliment. We will do anything to deflect or dismiss a compliment sent our way. I get it, we are pretty self-deprecating, and there is a lot of humour in that. There is, however, a lot of insecurity in that too. A metaphor for the duality of life I guess.

I read a story a while ago, sorry I can't find it after numerous Google searches. It was about this man was out with his 2 kids having a family picnic in a park and Will Smith happened to stroll by. The man got up some courage to say hello. 

He said Will was very polite and talked like a normal person and not one of the most famous people in the world. The thing that struck him the most was that he kept all his attention in the moment, on the conversation, and that he thanked him every time he was complimented. 

He said that every time he said about how much he enjoyed Will's movies or how influential The Fresh Prince was to him, Will would smile and say thank you. He said he didn't notice it at the time but only in reflection, he took every compliment. Not in an arrogant way, but in a way to accept the generosity of the giver.

When you disregard a compliment you are basically giving an F U to the person saying something nice to you. I wasn't even aware of it until I read the story. 

It feels a little bit like we think there is currency in being nice. If I accept the compliment I owe them something back in return. Or you don't trust that the person is being honest with you. Neither are good situations.

Give it a shot next time when someone gives you a compliment, just smile and say thank you, no exchange, no trade, just take the compliment. It feels really weird, but it also feels right. It feels much more correct than deflecting someone's generous words. 

And on the flip side, give your words generously. Once again, you don't lose anything by sharing a compliment, it's not a trade, you don't become weaker by sharing something with someone. If anything, the bond between you becomes stronger, there is more, not less. 

Everything is hard until it isn't and it's in those uncomfortable places is where we learn and grow. So go out there and be a little uncomfortable every day. Take a compliment like a champ and dish out compliments whenever they should be. Error on more than less. 

Shave well, be awesome, smile and say thank you. 


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