One of the greatest lessons I recently learned is to receive graciously. I now receive compliments with a smile and “thank you”. When someone treats me to an unexpected act of kindness, I acknowledge it and pay it forward. This is a vast change from my former self. I use to feel incumbent to brush off compliments; believing it would be arrogant to accept. If someone showed me kindness, I felt obliged to repay it back to them. Mostly, I just felt undeserving.
I’ve come to realize that when I brush away compliments or downgrade someone’s kindness, I’m actually refusing gifts. Showing kindness and support are spiritual offerings we give to one another. They uplift us and brighten our days. Refusing them denies the giver their moment of happiness, because it feels good to give. And it stops the flow of positivity in our lives. It’s essentially saying to the Universe, “No thanks!”
Turning away gifts like these use to be a reflexive act on my part. I use to think it was a virtue to be modest, and I took it to the extreme. If someone complimented me on my hair, I’d tell them that I’m in dire need of a haircut. If a friend or co-worker did something nice for me, I’d feel uneasy until I did something equally nice back.
As I become more comfortable and accepting of myself, I’m also becoming more of a gracious receiver. Now that I’m beginning to feel deserving of good, when compliments fly my way it feels okay to hold onto them – I like myself, therefore it’s not a surprise when others agree with me. When I didn’t feel this way about myself, admiration and kindness just didn’t fit with my self-image, which is why I couldn’t accept them and felt it necessary to refuse.
It’s true that our outer world is a blank canvas onto which we project out inner selves. It fills me with gratitude to see shades of shimmering colour beginning to appear and shine in my outer life.