Last weekend, like so many before, and so many yet to come, I was away at a soccer tourney. My daughter plays on a competitive, travel soccer team. Typically one or both parents, plus siblings, attend these weekends. We stay in hotels, and have team dinners together. This last weekend was the State Cup qualifier and Quarterfinals. On Saturday night the entire team, all the parents and the siblings went to dinner. The adults had a table of about 28 which included the coach. I was at one end of the table. At the complete other end were 2 moms, and their husbands.
Let me veer off to say that I attend a lot of gatherings where I am the hostess or the wife of the host. One of my primary duties as the hostess is to circulate and speak to everyone in attendance. I was neither the hostess nor the host's wife at this soccer dinner, but for some reason, I was circulating. Maybe it was the Tequila.
I made my way down to the other end of the table to speak to these 2 moms. These ladies are "new" to our team this year and perhaps a tiny bit less exuberant than the rest of us. "Lori" and "Stephanie" were chatting about this and that. All of a sudden, "Stephanie" said that I looked so pretty. I gasped a bit and said, "Wow, OK?". Then "Lori" said, "Dani, you always look so beautiful and put together". I was instantly self-conscious and embarrassed. I made some crazy comment like, "well, OK..but I do not see myself like that at all"!
Later that evening, I started thinking about sincere they sounded and how they probably thought I was acting coy and really do think I am all that. Well, I don't know if they thought that....that is my internal critic...the voice that is never silent.
I was truly touched by their words. I am 50 years old. Ravaged by Rheumatoid Arthritis. Covered in wrinkles. Too many for my age...more of a commentary on my battle with my health. In truth, I rarely look at myself in the mirror. I do not have a good idea of what I really look like. It is piecey. When I do my hair, I only see my hair, when I do my makeup, it is eyes or lips as individual parts...never a complete picture. So for these two moms to say that to me, well, there was no motivation to do it. It was genuine and I loved it. Later...when I accepted it.
Compliments have always been difficult for me. I usually deflect them. I am just learning to be gracious and move on. I want my daughters to know how to accept a compliment as well. My girls are so confident about how they look and how the world sees them. Lea usually replies to any compliment with 2 words, "I KNOW". Grace usually just smiles and rarely says thank you.
I have some work to do in this area. The common and appropriate response to any compliment should be a simple "Thank you". Deflecting or over agreeing should not be a part of the exchange.
It is going to take some practice. On all of our parts. Who among us can accept compliments with a grace and ease? Well, I am sure there are people who can....but none of them live here with me.