Are you constantly worried about being too egotistical? Maybe you don’t think of yourself that way, but here are some clues so you can check in with yourself:
- Do you deflect a compliment so someone else won’t feel badly for not getting the same attention?
- Do you downplay recognition of some talent or accomplishment so someone else won’t feel jealous?
- Do you worry that others within earshot will think ill of you if you get publicly singled out for being special in any way? Like thinking, “Oh, I bet she’s really full of herself!” or “Boy, that guy’s really kissing up to the boss!”
- Are you quick to label others as being arrogant, conceited or egotistical?
If any of these are sounding familiar, just know this:
It’s great to be a caring and sensitive person who wants to avoid hurting others’ feelings. But if you are being SO careful that you can never bask in your own successes, how does that help you to feel better about yourself? It doesn’t!
Receiving compliments openly and with appreciation is about reminding yourself of your worth.
So from now on, every time you receive a compliment, I highly encourage you to practice reinforcing your self-worth, by doing the following two things:
- Respond with the following words, “Thank you for saying that. It feels really good to hear, especially coming from you.”
- Take a slow, deep breath and just let the compliment stand. Let it just be present, and fully appreciated, by you and the person giving you the compliment. It will feel awkward at first, but don’t let that stop you from doing it! Just bask quietly in the powerful generosity to yourself that this seemingly small shift provides.
This small statement is significant in three important ways:
First, you get to practice receiving the compliment without minimizing, deflecting, discounting or avoiding it.
Second, you are communicating to the person who gave you the compliment that his/her opinion matters, and that they and their opinion are important to you.
Third, if you were feeling the need to return the compliment, this is the best way to do so, because you are now validating the other person without in any way minimizing your own accomplishment.
That, my friends, is a classic win-win situation!
It’s important to remember that receiving generous offers, compliments and gifts is an art to be practiced. Think about it this way: How would it be if our most effective leaders and cultural heroes were uncomfortable with praise and wanted to avoid it? They’d never show their faces in public! That would be pretty weird, right?
Yet many of them are naturally shy, and surprisingly modest. They have to learn and practice this art, in order to continue offering their particular contributions while under the frequent gaze of the public. If they can do that, then surely you can do this!
You Remember This, I Promise!
As a small child you actually knew quite well how to receive praise, and how to celebrate your accomplishments with joy and self-congratulations. (That was before the “ego police” stepped in to squash your developing pride, lest you get too full of yourself…. Heaven forbid!)
So it’s really just a matter of remembering once again how to connect with that self-appreciation.
Knowing our worth in any given situation, and hearing words spoken out loud as well as in our own internal dialogue, does NOT create swelled, egotistical perceptions of ourselves. On the contrary, egotism comes out of insecurity and uncertainty – a topic for another article and another time.
So starting today, just allow yourself to trust in the fact that who you are is enough. Then celebrate that, moment to moment throughout every day! Take 10 second pauses – every chance you get – to take a slow, deep breath and think to yourself, or say out loud, “Who I am IS enough!”
Let it become second nature for you to do this.
Allow yourself to feel proud of your accomplishments, accept that you deserve appreciation and compliments, and share that sense of deserving generously with others.