“That’s a great sweater on you.”
“I’m inspired by the fundraising that you do.”
“The way you give back is really impactful.”
These are all incredibly nice things that people have said to me. In every situation, my response has been to either make a self-deprecating remark, wave the statement away, or mumble while averting my eyes.
I have never been one to accept compliments gracefully. And frankly, I always figured that I had enough bigger flaws that I should focus on rather than worrying about that.
My perspective on that, like most things, has changed since I’ve had kids.
Now, my kids are still very young – two and three. They are confident. When you tell my daughter she is beautiful and smart, she responds, “I know.” When I ask her if she knows that I’m proud of her, she smiles broadly and says, “I do!”
But teaching my children self-confidence is more than peppering them with compliments. It is teaching them how to carry themselves, as well, which includes modeling my language and my own esteem.
Those statements at the beginning of this post? I struggled to write them down, knowing that I’m attributing them to myself.
If I can’t accept those statements gracefully, how will my kids learn the joy of hearing what they have done well?
If I don’t teach them how to internalize the good others see in them, how will they learn to recognize and articulate their own strengths?
Do you accept compliments gracefully? Do you work with your kids on this? How has your self-esteem changed as you’ve gotten older?