To deflect or not? That is the question. Strange beginning for a blog, isn't it? I'm going to tell on myself.
This topic is fresh on my mind for two reasons: First, I found myself starting to deflect a compliment at the airport this morning; and second, I was in the airport BECAUSE I was on my way home after returning from co-leading one of our leadership retreats. I remember telling a participant just YESTERDAY who had been given an acknowledgment to "just say thank you." Can you see the irony? Hmm.
First, what is the difference between an acknowledgment and a compliment. A compliment is something like, "I really like your shirt. The color looks great on you." An acknowledgement speaks to who the person is BE-ing. For example, "John, you showed a lot of courage and leadership in the meeting this morning when you pointed to what was being stepped over. It brought up some really good dialogue." See the difference? How often do you find yourself deflecting either a compliment or an acknowledgement? And why? That is the question to be explored.
For me, this woman came up to me and said, "I have walked past you several times and you look stunning. The hat, the dress. I keep looking at you, and you look stunning."
What started coming out of my mouth? "I don't feel stun—” I caught myself. “I will just say thank you."
Then I reflected on what just happened. I went to say, "I don't FEEL stunning." First, “stunning” is not a feeling. I have noticed how often people, myself included (I'm trying hard to break this habit) substitute the word "feel" for what is actually a thought. “I don't 'feel' this is the direction we should go." That, too, is a thought. Our feelings follow our thoughts.
In my case at the airport, when I take time to slow down and reflect, it was the thought, "I am not stunning; I am not deserving of or worthy. About THAT thought, I feel sad." And then go deeper. Is that thought true? We were JUST teaching about how we have to transform our thoughts because often they are distorted. So what is the lesson here? Pay attention to where your thoughts are taking you. Are they true? Oh, and remember to just say "thank you."