It’s a hard phrase to utter at times. Whenever given a compliment, I used to blush and deflect the gesture by saying something derogatory about myself. Rather than make the other person feel comfortable and at ease, I would find some way to make the whole exchange clumsy and awkward.
It wasn’t until later that I just happened to listen in on a conversation about that very topic. From it, I learned the simplest and kindest thing to do when receiving a compliment is to simply say, “Thank You.” There’s no need to downplay it. It’s definitely not proper to up-play it, either. Simply thank the person and move on in the conversation.
It would be the equivalent of giving a gift to someone and having them go on about how you shouldn’t have or they’re not deserving or they don’t know what to say. It takes away from the magical feeling you have inside when you’re in a position to present someone with a gift. You want them to simply enjoy it. Instead, they make an issue of it and the value of the moment is diminished.
I am blessed to be able to say I’ve had countless of opportunities in the last several years to say “Thank You” to people. It really should be something we keep track of over the year. Instead of receiving a W2 in January that details how much money you earned, it would be cool to receive some sort of statement that outlines the number of times in the previous year you were able to say “Thank You” to someone else. That would be a true measure of wealth.
As luck would have it, I’d say the majority of my thanks results from my writing efforts. Be it blog posts, the short novels I’ve written, or the occasional poetry, I am frequently complimented about my writing. It’s nice and it’s humbling. I know I’ve learned from my past, and whenever someone pays me a compliment, I quickly and succinctly tell them “Thank You.”
On occasion, the kind words are followed up with inquisitive ones or comments of self-doubt. I often hear from others how it is they love to read but are horrible writers. They go on and on about how they could never do what I do and just write. What’s really interesting is how they are willing to invest their kindness in me but not in themselves.
My wife used to be like that. She was handcuffed with imaginary shackles. She felt her writing was horrible. She said she didn’t possess the talent to write online. Yet here we are, ten days into this writing challenge and with her typing away every night. She is still developing her voice and style, but I think her work is amazing. She was able to tear down her self-imposed restrictions and just write, and this is what leads to greater success down the road.
If you’ve ever thought about writing, be it just for yourself or for the world to see, simply sit down and do it. Don’t worry about it being bad. Trust me when I tell you there are a million other writers that are worse than you. Writing begets more writing. It’s a process you’ll learn to love over time once you sit down and start writing.
The positive feedback you’ll receive will also inspire you to write more. It will motivate you to keep coming back, and the more you do so, the more your writing will expand and flourish.
Just remember, when someone says something complimentary about your writing, be sure you just say “Thank You”.