As we were growing up, most of us were taught the importance of saying please and thank you at the appropriate times in life. From a young age, children who are given something hear the echoing words, “Say thank you!” We say thank you for a gift, when given a treat, and for being passed the mashed potatoes, but over time, we kind of lose sight of an important reason to say thank you.
We get so wrapped up in our assorted low self-esteem and lack of confidence that it becomes nearly impossible to say thank you for a simple compliment. It might look a little something like this; you show your artwork to a friend, who says, “That is beautiful!” and you reply “Well, yeah, it’s not bad, but I couldn’t get the color quite right here, and it took me three days longer than I planned to finish it.”
Another example could be when you run into an old friend and they tell you that you look great. You respond by saying how you’ve gained 10 pounds over the winter and really need a haircut, and this is like, the oldest shirt in your closet, and so on. It becomes an infinite cycle of being unwilling to accept praise and feeling unworthy of praise.
It may seem like a very small thing, but those two simple words, thank you, can have a profound effect on your confidence, self-esteem, and even your life. You might find all kinds of excuses for not saying it, ranging from fear of sounding egotistical to genuine belief that you are not worthy of praise. It can be incredibly hard to censor yourself, stop the reflexive self-deprecating monologue, and just say those two slightly scary words.
Saying thank you does not imply ego. It implies gratitude. By saying thank you, you are not saying “I know, I am a god among men, you are all just lowly beings before me.” You are saying “I am grateful for your compliment.”
By now, most of us realize that the more we repeat the pattern of self-depreciation and continue to devalue our own worth and accomplishments, the harder it is to get out of that rut. By beginning to eliminate that negative chatter, you stop feeding your own self-doubts and low self-esteem. Simply saying thank you starts to create a new pattern of self-acceptance and positive thought.
You begin, perhaps slowly and imperceptibly, or perhaps more profoundly, to appreciate compliments. Over time you learn that more often than not, people who compliment you are being genuine, and that you have something positive and beautiful to offer. It is not being egotistical to create something of beauty and want to share it with the world. If someone tells you that you are beautiful, believe them.
Once you recognize these patterns in yourself and stop diminishing your own worth, you will open yourself up to growth, change and new confidence. It can bring a positive change to your personal, profession and creative life, and all it takes is two simple words…
Tricia Griffith is an artist, writer and former veterinary assistant living in Maine. She has worked as a psychic and spiritual counselor for more than 20 years and draws much of what she writes about from those experiences. She has written on the arts, virtual worlds, spiritual & metaphysical topics and animal care. She maintains a blog at www.spiritualtea.wordpress.com.