On Mondays I babysit/nanny a wonderful little girl (we'll call her S) who is almost four months old. This past Monday, we took a walk up to a new bakery as I am on the search for the best croissants around! I ran into a mom with an even younger baby and she began asking me questions about S and I answered politely. Eventually, she told me, "Congratulations" and I said, "Thank You", even though S is not mine; she was getting hungry and I needed to place my order and then walk back to her house, so I didn't bother correcting the other mom.
However, as I walked back, I realized it was a compliment that she assumed S was mine. I'm in my 40s and I must still look natural taking care of a baby even though it's been awhile. This exchange made me realize how hard it is to accept a regular compliment these days. We always seem to shake it off; if someone likes your hair many of us say, "I just had it done" instead of, "Thank you." "I like your shirt/shoes/pants," may have a response similar of, "Thanks, but they are my sister's" or "they were the only clean ones I had." Can we just say "Thank You" and mean it?
When it comes to our writing, I think many of us view it as personal --or as Anna Nalick says in her song, "Breathe": "These words are my diary speaking out loud."
It may be hard for some people to accept that the inner workings of their mind has affected someone in a good way. As writers we have chosen to walk this path and enjoy the positive and endure the negative. Has someone complimented you on your writing; a story you wrote, an essay in school or even a funny one liner? Were you able to just say "thank you" and did the other person offer "you're welcome?"
On the flip side, have you done the complimenting and didn't receive the answer you were expecting? Why do you think it's hard for us to accept and embrace compliments?
I look forward to reading your comments. Happy Wednesday!