Can you take a compliment?
Last night a good friend, whose opinion I value greatly, paid me a big compliment on my work.
It’s not the first time she’s done it. She’s been doing it for a while. But although my ears hear it and my mouth says thank you every time, does it ever really go in? Does it permeate? Do I allow it to seep into me?
There is a wall there.
There is a “thank you very much for your gift, I’ll put that into a box and look at it again later”.
But I don’t. Not really. It never gets fully unpacked.
Today I thought for the first time about why that is.
Sometimes I do accept compliments – they’re usually from people I don’t know very well or people who don’t fully understand what I’m trying to do.
But when it comes from a place of real authenticity and feeling, from somebody who I know and whose own work I respect, it starts to get difficult. You can’t just fob it off with “ah they’re only saying that because they don’t get it”. Because they do get it. And that then becomes very real and very scary.
What kind of emotions would it have unleashed, if I had really sat in that compliment and thought about it properly?
I honestly don’t know. I might have cried. Big ugly snotty tears.
So sometimes it’s just easier not to. Sometimes accepting nice things makes you feel vulnerable in unexpected ways.
It’s something I am resolving to get better at.
How lovely it is to have the chance to receive these things. How good it would be to be able to own them completely.