“She’s beautiful.” Person “X” says about child “A” – I cringe. Not because I disagree or don’t like compliments. In fact, as bashful as I act when someone says something kind, I still need validation and it’s nice knowing someone appreciates what you do. However, I cringe because I don’t know what to say/how to react when someone says kind words about our children or something I’m wearing.

When I hear “Your daughters are beautiful/pretty/funny”, my instant thought is “I know.” That can sounds vain, but I don’t intend it that way. What I mean is “I know that she is beautiful.” Saying thank you seems out-of-place. Yes, I have something to do with their awesomeness, but so do many other people. Saying thank-you for who they are seems odd to me. Should I say “I’ll tell ‘em.”?

It’s the same if I’m wearing a shirt that compels someone to say “Nice shirt.” Again, my gut tells me to say, “Yah, I like it.” Why would I say thank you? Aren’t they complimenting the shirt?

I think about this more than I should. If I say what I think I should, I say “thank-you”, and I feel untrue, like I’m passing off their compliments. If I say, “Yah, I know.” I fear that people will think I’m pompous and/or rude.

My Papa Sense tells me:

I’m thankful that I have the time to consider trivial matters regarding the word exchanges between humans that occur constantly. Regardless of the “there could be worse/or better things to have to think about” it’s still something that crosses my mind regularly and makes me uncomfortable.

It’s easy to respond to, and accept, criticism. We can all think of ways to improve what we are doing or who we are, but compliments seem to make people uncomfortable – I don’t think it’s just me. I want our girls to stop and relish the times that people notice them and not take it personally when someone pushes them to become better at something. Perhaps, we shouldn’t tell the parents their kids are beautiful, we should be telling the kid? Just don’t talk to my shirt – that would make us all uncomfortable.

I like to hear these kind words – I just don’t know how to react. How do you respond?

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