My Thoughts On Compliments

Throne of the netherlands
Throne of the netherlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia) No, thanks. I’ll just be in the kitchen with the other servers.. 🙂

Yesterday, I got distracted from my little diatribe with Ark by something that happened at Terry’s site.

A little background on Terry – Terry is currently a caregiver for her brother Al who is suffering from a debilitating, terminal illness that also affects his mind. She is literally cut off from the social world for the most part due to having to be with him 24/7, and as we all would, suffers from some loneliness and those crappy side-effects of basically only having yourself to talk to all day. She started her blog site about the same time as I did, and I found out yesterday that I was her very first follower. I feel like I “discovered” her…lol.

Anyways, Terry writes a lot of emotional posts and sometimes they are sad. They are very honest, and they’ve struck a chord with a lot of people. I’ve watched her site gain a pretty good following, and I personally think that her success is due in a large part to the fact that there are a lot of people out there that can relate to her pain.

So, imagine my dismay when I read her post that she is going to start writing only happy pieces. 😦 Turns out, someone who I’m assuming meant nothing really malicious by it, commented on one of her posts that basically, she needed to get over how she was feeling and move on… 😮

It is a theory of mine that it only takes one negative comment to ruin hundreds of positive ones, and Terry’s reaction made me sad. I commented, disagreeing with her decision to paint Happy Terry Land, and then the flood gates opened, and Terry was bombarded by encouragement, support, love, understanding…every good thing one person can do for another. It made me smile, because Terry has no where else she can get those really important things right now…just here in Blogosphere.

So, Terry, being a Love Bug, writes another post, and in it she gives me huge crazy credit for helping her overcome her reaction to this comment and is super complimentary about me personally.

That is where I suddenly came to a stop. I really have no idea how to take an awesome compliment. The more beautiful the compliment, the less I know how to respond… I have no idea why I lack that social elegance, but I sincerely blow at it.

One thing I appreciate about writing, and not really communicating in person, is that the compliments can be handled without someone looking expectantly at me. I love to get compliments, but at the same time, I always have these fears that I don’t deserve these compliments, or some guilt thinking that maybe I’m somehow tricking a person who is complimenting me…not on purpose, but still… I have no problems handing them out…that part is easy because I know I’m being truthful, but I guess I am afraid that the good things people think about me might not be true ..So, I usually stick to a short Thank You, and try to divert attention to something else quickly, or point out instead something awesome about the complimenter..Or, I make a joke.

And so, obviously off my game a little last night, I responded to Terry’s high compliment by making  a joke about her reference to me “scolding” her…Her reaction was distressing..She couldn’t tell I was joking and thought she’d upset me.

I was quick to tell her I was kidding and fix the little mess, but as I drove to my husband’s work, I really started thinking about why it is so hard for me just to accept that maybe it is just a little bit true that people could really like me. I asked my husband and all he said was that I’m absolutely the sh** and deserve the compliments, but he didn’t really understand the depth of the question. Besides, he was working…bad time for a heart-to-heart.

I then asked Rebekkah, and she kind of cleared it up pretty matter-of-factly…We all have a hard time with the compliments, and we shouldn’t be all gung-ho to change that thing about us either. We all want other people to think we’re a little bit special, but unless we are die-hard in love with ourselves, that humility that goes with wondering if we really earned this kind of reaction is actually good for us. The day you start believing in your own heart that  you are actually truly awesome, is the day you start putting yourself on a throne  and begin looking down out your fellow man.

I don’t ever want to be on a throne..the fall down is hard and bitter. I’ll take a pass on that little experience. 🙂 Jesus earned it, and I’m happy to serve Him right here on the ground!

In fact, the posts I’ve written that people have responded the most to, are in fact, things the Lord has written more than me. I really can’t take credit for much on those…I don’t need to add the seedling of pride to my already impressive lists of sins I struggle with.

I’m going to leave my inability to believe I deserve any of the high credit I’m being given these days alone.

I’ve weighed and measured this weirdness I feel about being complimented, and I find it more useful that not… So, just so you know, if my reaction is that of a goofball, it because the compliment made me feel so wonderful, I just couldn’t afford to believe it could be 100% true. 🙂

— Bird

43 responses to “My Thoughts On Compliments”

  1. Bird, i can understand about you having a hard time taking compliments. So many times we’re afraid to take credit for the talents God has given us. I was like that years ago about my music and songwriting talent. I was so afraid that if I acknowledged my talent I would get puffed up and disappoint God. Until one day a person told me, “Stop apologizing for God’s gift!” Our talents are gifts from God that he gives to us because He loves us. Not to acknowledge that gift is like giving a gift to your child only to have him or her hide it from all of their friends. You should be glad that God has given you the talent of writing in a way that resonates with people. And when someone gives you a compliment you can thank them knowing that God gave you that talent in order to bless others – and in doing so, blesses God the same way that a parent is blessed when they observe their child bragging to their friends, “Look what my mom got me!”


      • Um. I just thought — what are we supposed to write in the comment section if it’s not a compliment or else a disagreement or else a complaint . . . I’ve been thinking about just how to word this stuff. I mean, when I truly love a piece of writing, why isn’t it okay to say so . . . I mean, the blog etiquette folks say only say nice things and do the arguing off the site, in emails or somewhere else. So what’s left? Give examples, please!!!!! 🙂


        • Write whatever you’d like, Katharine…I mean, other than being just plain ugly to someone, I don’t mind if people disagree.


        • I really like when people give me a compliment…What I was explaining was that I don’t know how to react to them all that easily or smoothly. I always feel like I’m sounding insincere about thanking them, or that stuff like that….I guess I don’t really understand the question, maybe?


          • Okay, so my young friend who speaks English as a second language and who recently got Freshly Pressed and now has to think of 400 unique ways to answer compliments in English from total strangers — you would not want to be her, right? 😀


  2. I think one of the reasons for not being able to accept a compliment at its word, is because we – you and I – have a deep rooted trust issue with “good”.


    • You know, I agree. I thought I would try to write a post on Trust and bring up what certain compliments actually say to me, like “You are so beautiful..” Do you like that compliment? I have a feeling it does the same thing to you that it does to me…


  3. Wow, powerful post – we need to be careful how we comment on another’s site – words are powerful and can build up or tear down. When someone tells another to buck up, how do they know where that person is at? Or what kind of trials they’re facing. It is important to be sensitive. I’ve had a few comments made when I’ve presented my MS in a group that debilitated me until I regained my focus and purpose for writing. Once words are on the web, they’re there and they can either edify or tear down. This is a great reminder.



    • I’ve been careless myself with comments, though not maliciously. I think we tend to forget that actual words are only a fraction of how we really communicate with each other, and they can be misinterpreted rather easily!


  4. There have been times when I’ve read someone’s post and I’ve wanted to type “Huh?” in the comment section, but I don’t personally know what others are going through. so I hold my sarcastic tongue — or I did until today (and you know what what I’m referring). The one thing I see in you is encouragement. That is a HUGE gift of the Spirit. There is a group of ladies that I lead in Bible study who just uplift me all the time. Just seeing them across the way when I get to church makes my heart beat a little faster.

    They have inspired me to be an encourager. Honestly, I am much better at picking out someone’s flaws and complaining about them, but I was convicted during Lent to stop this. I have been a horrible gossip in the past and that is definitely not a way to be an encourager.

    It’s not being selfish if you recognize the gifts that God has given you. Sandy


    • Thank you, Sandy. You are always quick to be encouraging to me, and I appreciate that very much! Yes, I saw your statement of faith on Sara’s site. Good for you!! How did you enjoy his response??? Makes my head dizzy how many directions one comment from Ark can go…


  5. Bird,
    I give compliments when they are due. You. Deserve one for this post! This awesome!

    I am not one to downgrade anyone, unless I can do it face to face. My parents always said if you can’t say something nice – don’t say anything and I think that is a good rule to follow. In all my comment I try to put a positive twist on things and still get my point across. If I ever fail on this, please don’t hesitate to call me on it. ( I will immediately go back and make things right.

    God tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves – I take that real strict.

    Edwin Christian
    POBox 669
    Scottsville, TX 75688


    • Thanks, Ed!! You’ve never been anything but nice to me, so I imagine your parents did a really good job teaching you that wisdom!! lol..Ok. If I think you are messing up, I’ll let you know, but I doubt it will ever happen!! I don’t presume to know what other people should or shouldn’t say for the most part…well, I guess except if it is hurtful to someone I care about! Still a human, after all!!


  6. Bird, I’m with your husband on this: you’re absolutely the sh** (if that means what I think it means).

    The fact that you have trouble accepting compliments proves it. It’s a delicate balancing act being able to accept compliments and not letting them get to your head. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better to err on the side of humility, but not too far. God doesn’t want us to have self esteem issues. As the t-shirts from the 80’s declared – God don’t make no junk (he writes, hoping people ignore the double-negative).


    • I’m loving the double-negative myself…Thank you for this…lol..and yes, sh** means exactly what you thought..My husband tends to cut through it alot!!


  7. Absolutely an wonderful post. And I thank you for sharing Terry’s blog info. This is the first post of yours I’ve read, and (here I go, I gonna compliment you–warning!) what I read between the lines comes from a warm, friendly, caring and quite humble woman of God. 🙂 Glad I stopped by…
    Continue to share all of who our Savior is creating you to be! Blessings


    • lol…Thank you, alwayzhis! I’m glad you stopped by, too! Also, I really love the name you picked out to use with the use of the “z” in it…Way cool!!


  8. You’ve likely struck a chord in many people…for those of us who have spent a lot of their lives thinking we must ‘put ourselves down’ just a little by making light or a joke of something good someone is saying about us. I find it very difficult even now to accept or maybe believe I am the person who deserves a compliment…and often as you …don’t know how to react or exactly what to say….I looked for what made Terry sad..but couldn’t at the time but I knew it was something…I hope she continues to be just who she is….Diane


    • I think compliments make most of us nervous.. 🙂 As for the comment, Terry deleted it. She doesn’t need the reminder always mocking her..Thanks for the comment, Diane!


  9. this was beautiful and spoken from the heart. i also deal with compliments in a difficult way. mostly thinking i do not really deserve them, and the person writing them is just being polite. so we are all alike in lilttle ways. i love ya Bird, and i think you are a true woman of God


  10. Bird, you are taking that compliment the way God would want you to…with a humble heart. In a short time I have found you to be very humble, and in this you truly give God the glory for what you do. Read the Beatitudes…your reward will be in Heaven. Just keep sharing yourself the way you are…it is heartwarming!


  11. Nothing wrong with a little pride. It’s the false pride we need to stay away from. This was a beautiful & beautifully written post, one of your best Bird Reports…


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