#12DaysofMindfulness Day 4
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Sorry I missed a posting opportunity yesterday, between going to ballet, doing laundry, sneaking in a little nap, going to Baltimore to have game night with friends and packing for Cinci - time in the day slipped away from me sooner than I anticipated. Now here we are, days later and I'm finally getting back to it!
Reflection on Day 3: Accepting a Compliment
So how did your day 3 go? Did you find it as hard as I did to allow a compliment to set and sink in. For whatever reason, I'm so trained into dismissing or not believing or just not seeing what another person sees. Recognizing that alone was a bit disheartening, it is not that I don't want to believe what I'm being told is true, its just habit. So I've been actively trying to hear the words I'm being told. In the past week, trying to maintain this thought process has proved... rather difficult. I've been in Cinci since I began this post on the 29th. Now six days later, I've had more time to practice this. Though my habits of dismissing or trying to say otherwise have proved steady, my recognition of it has sky rocketed. When I first started writing this, I knew exactly which compliment I was going to talk about. My Mommy sent me a text on the 26th. Out of the blue, middle of the day, I received a text from my Mom that read:
"I wish you knew how exceptional you are."
I just stared at it for a while. I've noticed the unprompted contact or words leave me touched but mostly speechless. What sparked it? You take for granted the kind words of people when they constant. You take for granted kind words in general. My Mom is one of the most thoughtful, intelligent and kind woman I know. She always gives herself so fully to those she loves and makes sacrifice after sacrifice to keep the people she loves happy. She doesn't have to say "I love you" for each of us to know it because we feel it in her actions, words, and hopes for us. She has spent a large portion of her life supporting me, doing things for and with me, she is the bomb.com and hearing this from someone I admire, love, respect, look up to and genuinely try my best to show the same love and commitment back... just blew my mind a little. It was one of those, "I'm not sure how badly you realized I needed to hear that" moments. Because she didn't have any idea how bad I needed to hear it, but hearing it from her just struck a soft spot. So Mommy, thank you for saying that and for loving me. I may not always see me the way you do (or most people do) but I am grateful and it really does mean a lot. Its a text I've been reading a lot lately.
Then this week, coming to Cincinnati, spending time with Mike has been amazing. I sometimes get a little overwhelmed, how quickly I reverted to not seeing what he sees, brushing his kindness off... and I don't mean to. I don't mean to be ungrateful or unwilling to accept such kindness and love... because I know for fact it would drive me crazy to have him deny or turn down the love I give him. Each time I caught myself, I tried to call myself out. Explain that my auto-pilot isn't how I want to be. I'd say thank you and typically curl into arms and breathe. He has figured out, this isn't my strong suit. But something I've also noted is the way I shut down kind words, gives him this impression that I hate everything about myself and he dislikes what my job has done to warp my sense of reality. (Its not just the dance world, its being a person, a young woman... any and all of these are valid for why people are so critical of themselves) but it also makes me realize I don't want him to grow to dislike what I do because of my mindset. I don't want him to think I cannot see any goodness in myself. I want him to know his words stick. Because they do. Since then, we've talked about this challenge and I think he liked this one. It challenged me to stop thinking in terms of what I see as a critic. I know he doesn't just say sweet things to say them... I know none of the people I receive kind words from are ingenuine... this one especially is something I am working on. Please be patient with this process, it isn't easy to break this defense I've put up.
Day 4: Give a Compliment
You may have realized how difficult it can be to truly accept compliments. Today, you have the chance to share compliments with those around you, whether you know the person or not. Now I'm not saying just run around spouting unthought-out random compliments to every person you see walking down the street.
Take the time to think of, look at, or see in someone. As you deliver the compliment (if it is to someone you are with), do so with open eyes, a smile, with welcoming, vulnerable body language. If it is to someone you aren't with, give it context. Did they handle a situation at work with a sense of professionalism and sensitivity? By giving context with your praise, you reinforce good action, their value to you and how you hope to emulate their actions.
Perhaps there is someone in your life who you've noticed is struggling... instead of drawing attention to that, start with kind words. That out of the way thoughtfulness can go a long way, acknowledging someone can also be seen as a compliment. I will never forget the day in high school, one of the girls in my grade came up to me and said something I will never forget. It has since stuck with me. It reminds me everyday people deserve to be acknowledged. She said,
"I want to say thank you. The other day you said Hi to me and asked how if I was ok... you were the first person in a week to acknowledge me, Not family, friends... it was you seeing me, really seeing me that made me decide not to hurt myself. So I just want to say thank you. It meant a lot."
I was awe-struck. I had no idea how bad things were. It wasn't one of those, I can tell something is wrong with you... I was just trying to be friendly. I think she might have just dropped some books? I don't even remember it. We often underestimate the power of kindness has. So when in doubt, be kind.
Compliments/Kindness go hand in hand. Hopefully they not only give a boost to that person but reassure them of their value to you and to the world. By doing so in a genuine manner, there is no doubt in you. Some might argue that by giving a blank statement compliment, you are fishing for compliments of your own. Maybe, but why does that have to be our assumption? It doesn't.
I've heard some say that if you give a detailed compliment that allows for a continuation of conversation it may make the person feel less on the spot. For example, "Your new haircut is fabulous, I love the way it frames your face. Where do you get your haircut?" While I'm not sure I always feel this is necessary - sometimes saying "Thank you" can feel... awkward. But try not to let it... my example of this is:
I know for me at the end of a show, it can be overwhelming the kind of praise you get from those who attended. This past month at our show, I was beyond blessed to have such a supportive group of people show up. At each show, I think I had at least 25-30 people there. To me, that is a huge deal. But beyond that, (thankfully there was good feedback and not the other way around...) but hearing kind words, compliments by each person is a lot to take in. I'm always very grateful, incredibly touched and happy to have people support what art and my life... but I can't help at times feel like "thank you" doesn't feel like enough. Especially after saying it so many times, but anyone who has ever attended a show, please know, thank you doesn't cover it, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude and love.