Compliments – do you accept them?

So every time I tell my husband I’m so pleased we are married or I feel lucky to have him – he answers with variations along the lines of “You could do better than me” or “You don’t regret marrying me yet then”.

 

I’m a big one for putting my heart on my sleeve.  If I feel it, I will say it.  He is also like this but not in a newly married, vom-inducing, kinda way but in a straightforward “this is how I feel right now” way.

 

He is probably one of the most positive people I have come across.  Hence why his negative responses to my terms of endearment are so out of character.

 

They frustrate me. They lead me to bark back comments such as, “Oh for God’s sake why can’t you just say oh thanks babe that’s a nice thing to say!”…..Helpful I know!

 

This gets me to thinking & I come to the conclusion of “You’re a fine one to talk Tamsin.”

 

When was the last time I accepted a compliment?……………………………………

 

Ok bear with me……….still thinking…………

 

Wracking the brain……….ok I’ve got it!

 

I’m smugly pleased to report that I do in actual fact accept compliments.

 

However, when applying my “say it if I feel it” spirit I mentioned earlier, I must add an honest proviso to this.

 

Yes I accept compliments, HOWEVER, I am your stereotypical, lets disguise this acceptance behind an obvious “insecurity blanket” of humour.

 

It goes a little like this….

 

“Tamsin you’re hair looks nice have you just had it done?”

 

My reply, “Thank you – Blimey the highlights must be disguising the grey hairs well today!”

 

So compliment accepted.

 

Really?

 

Why do we feel the need to the waste words that come after “thank you”?

 

“Why use 500 words when 5 with do” I often exclaim.

 

The answer is we are all carrying around bucket loads of “mistaken beliefs”. These darstardly little inaccuracies we believe about ourselves due to things we have generally accepted as truths in childhood.

 

Our clever ol’ brains have decided that when we may have been called stupid as children, (maybe when our mum shouted at us for misbehaving, “Oh for heavens sake Tamsin why are you being so stupid you know you shouldn’t be doing that!”), that this is FACT, we are stupid. After all don’t adults, especially our parents, know everything?

 

The brain now applies this belief of “I’m stupid” to all situations that may vaguely relate to stupidity.

 

Let me give you an example.

 

Tom is out for the day with his dad. He tells his dad he’s cold and his Dad replies, “Well I told you it was cold & to bring your hat where is it?”. Tom admits he forgot it. “Well maybe you will think next time”, his Dad says. Tom’s brain logs a match. Yes, Tom thinks, he must be stupid he left his hat behind.

 

Tom’s brain carries on merrily logging situations like this where there may be a match with a mistaken belief that Tom has about himself. Every time it is reaffirming an inaccurate or as we call it in Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT), a mistaken belief.

 

So, back to compliments.

 

Why is it that very few of us can accept a compliment even from our nearest & dearest?

 

It’s because of this abundance of treacherous “mistaken beliefs” we have lugged around with us since childhood.

 

Tom wasn’t stupid that he forgot his hat or “misbehaving” when he was with his Mum. He was being a child.

 

Children are allowed to make mistakes. So are adults!

 

A common saying in PICT is mistakes are our best friends. They are how we learn.

On the surface, ok, maybe it seems no big deal. But actually what does this mean about us & what does it mean for our children?

 

None of us deserve to carry around things that don’t belong to us. Those mistaken beliefs were transferred onto us by our parents and without doubt from their parents to them.

 

The most common mistaken beliefs we all carry are, “I’m not good enough” or “I’m unlovable”.

 

You may be thinking how can a throw away comment like, “Don’t be so stupid” cause such havoc for us. Again, no big deal.

 

Well it is a big deal. Comments like this attack our identity as children & our clever brains still search for matches in adulthood.

 

“I’m stupid” translates into “I’m not good enough” as a match. If we believe at our core that we aren’t good enough how can we ever reach our true potential? In work or in our personal lives?

 

So my husband doubting my love is an absolute “I’m not good enough” mistaken belief.

 

My comments in response to a compliment, is a disguised cheeky little mistaken belief in the same vein.

 

So yes, a stand alone rejection of a compliment may not seem a big deal. But a core belief of “I’m not good enough” will attack our confidence our self-esteem & ultimately our achievements.

 

I have received PICT as a client and now practice it as a therapist. That doesn’t mean there is never more work to do in myself. So I’m off to do some more mistaken belief work & so is my husband.

 

As I said earlier, I say it as it is. I also practice what I preach!

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