THE BLOG

Thank You for That!

05/27/2015 01:57 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2016

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I used to believe that self-deprecating thoughts and comments were showing modesty. I'll give you an example:

Friend: I like your sweater!
Me: Oh thanks, but it's really old.

I'd walk away thinking how humble I was, when in fact, I --

  1. Rejected the nice comment my friend gave me and, as a result,
  2. Rejected her,
  3. Plus, I didn't get to feel pretty in my sweater.

That's a triple ewww.

Let's try this example:

My boss: That was a good presentation.
Me: Really? I thought it was ok, but I went on a tangent in the middle.

I'd walk away thinking how humble I was and how I was so good at noting where I needed to improve. Smug me. What actually happened was --

  1. My boss felt ignored.
  2. My boss started to question his perception of my presentation.
  3. My boss was annoyed that he didn't get that brownie point for complimenting me.
  4. I missed out on feeling good about my boss's compliment.
  5. I skipped over what I did well and never went back to look at that.

When I was a teenager, my Grandma would compliment me. I'd answer in my "modest" way and she'd say, "Just say thank you." Her tone was kind and loving, and I did whatever she told me to do anyway, so I started to do it. I thought she was being cute, but after a few experiences of saying Thank You and then biting my tongue, I realized how powerful her advice was. It forced me to graciously accept a compliment, which had so many wonderful ripple benefits. Let's try it out.

My boss: That was a good presentation.
Me: Thank You.

What happened was --

  1. My boss felt heard.
  2. My boss felt good about his perception of my presentation.
  3. My boss got that brownie point for complimenting me.
  4. I felt good about my boss's compliment.
  5. I enjoyed what I did well.

Saying thank you allows us to give and receive at the same time. t's a compassionate and respectful way to interact with people in every area of your life. And it feels good.