Last night in Dale Carnegie, the students were learning and practicing how to accept compliments by simply smiling and saying thank you. The purpose of the exercise was both to help people understand the power of giving sincere compliments but also to recognize how difficult it is for many people to accept compliments. The first reaction of many people when receiving compliments is to respond with a joke or a statement that somehow takes away from the praise they just received. Even if you don't say anything out loud, many times your facial expressions and nonverbals say it all for you. I am very much guilty of this myself. I usually make a joke or say something sarcastic when receiving compliments.
Today, I received a compliment from a man the same age as my dad (or older) that went something like this..."Well, don't you look cute today!" Practicing my DC techniques, I simply smiled and very politely said thank you, even though there were so many contrasting, not positive thoughts going through my head. It made me feel really uncomfortable, as I usually do when receiving compliments. But this time I think I was uncomfortable for a very different reason than I'm just bad at accepting compliments. I really wanted to ask him to define what exactly he meant by the word cute. Did he mean cute as in, you are young enough to be my daughter and I view you as a child and today you look cute like a child or did he mean you look cute today as in, I think you're attractive and who cares how old you are, age is nothing but a number type of cute. I'm not trying to flatter myself and assume he meant the latter but if he did, I'm totally creeped out. If this is the type of attention I get when I wear my hair straight, add this to the already long list of reasons why I rarely take the time to blow dry and straighten my hair.