I will never forget the first time I went to a new friend’s house. I was looking at the photos she had displayed of her and her honey and I said to her, “You have a nice looking husband.” And she said, “Oh you don’t have to say that.” 😱
Now I know that sometimes we aren’t good at accepting compliments for ourselves but that was the first time I had heard someone not accept it on behalf of someone else!
Recently, I went to a yoga class on the island with a new-to-me instructor. After the class I told the instructor that she had the most lovely voice, so calm and soothing, so perfect for what she was doing. She said, “Awe, thank you so much, I’m happy to have it!”
I loved her reaction, because not only did she receive the compliment so graciously, she owned it! She knew that she had a nice voice that allowed her to do her job better, she had probably event worked on her timing and cadence. She accepted and owned the compliment.
But the conversation wasn’t over because I asked her if she would be open to a wee bit of constructive feedback. I asked her this because I want to help her be even better, I asked her this because I want you to tell me how I can serve you better. I asked her this coming from a place of wanting to help, not hurt.
ME: I noticed your phone on the floor in front of you, I know you use it to control the music but when I see it sitting there it reminds me of my phone and kind of takes me out of the relaxed state that I am in. Maybe you could keep it behind you or cover it with a blanket?
YOGA TEACHER: Oh, I can totally see that, thank you for telling me, that’s really helpful feedback!
I was so impressed with both how she handled the compliment and the suggestion, it made me think about myself – and you, of course!
How do we deal with compliments? Do we accept them graciously, or deny and return them?
How do we deal with suggestions for improvements? Do we dismiss them or take them under consideration?
How do we deal with the person who gave us the feedback? Do we appreciate their candor or make them sorry they had the courage to speak up?
Today I thank my new yoga teacher for so wonderfully demonstrating these skills for me.
Graciously receiving both compliments and critiques, it’s just one more way to live Your Life, Unlimited!