I just received a compliment, and rather than taking the compliment to heart, “Yeah, but… ” was the first thing that came out of my mouth! Why did I do that? Oh, you do that, too?
We women can be so hard on ourselves, often selling ourselves short by deflecting praise. We don’t acknowledge our accomplishments, and if we do, we often downplay them. When learning new skills, we compare what we’ve done to that of someone with years more experience and talent or a team that does their bidding. We work diligently, then, expecting perfection, deem it not quite good enough. And too often, we deem ourselves not good enough, either.
How did this happen? The good news is it doesn’t matter. One of my dearest mentors said, “Awareness leads to control.” The solution is simple: Once we’re aware we’re doing this, we need to catch ourselves, acknowledge our progress and aim for personal excellence… not perfection.
Buddhism teaches there is no perfection. The way I see it, nothing will ever be perfect… or everything already is. Either way, we need to let perfectionism go, and in doing so, we allow ourselves to always be good enough.
We grow when we accept acknowledgement and praise, so I will catch myself when I hear those two words, “Yeah, but…” come out of my mouth, and think instead, “Oops, I did it again.”
With the holidays upon us, there will be lots of opportunities to practice. What if we re-frame our “yeah… buts” into a “Thank you so much!” When we are complimented on our outfit, our decor, our choice of wine or craft beer… a “Yes, it did come out nicely, didn’t it?” When we’re complimented on our roast turkey, beef, goose, or ham… a genuine,”I’m so glad you like it!”
Be prepared for compliments. Expect them. Bask in them. Enjoy everything just as it is. And if you ever find yourself uncertain about what to say, you can always just smile beatifically.