When we receive a compliment we can either be swayed by it or remain centred, in other words we can feel flattered or honoured. There is a lot of difference between these two reactions — and grasping it can prevent us from getting into needless trouble.A compliment is a statement of appreciation about a quality, an ability or something that we possess. So, in order to receive a compliment, we must be able to accept that such an admirable quality, ability or possession belongs to us. However, most of us are trained to believe that we must be humble, which translates into—don't ever acknowledge that you have something wonderful and even if you do, it is terrible to feel good about it. So, even in the privacy of our minds, we shrink from taking pride in certain aspects of ourselves, fearing that it is arrogant and impolite to do so.
As a result, we lack a realistic picture of ourselves. We go about either being unaware of our wonderful aspects or constantly undermining their value in an attempt to be humble. However, all of us like and enjoy the feeling of being appreciated. This is where a compliment could get us into trouble.When we keep our internal world impoverished by depriving ourselves of good feelings about ourselves, a compliment creates a huge turbulence. We feel chaotic inside because of the intensity of positive feelings it evokes in us, as well as confused, suspicious (are we really deserving of such a compliment?), overwhelmed and embarrassed. Simultaneously, we become aware of a certain neediness for more compliments because of the electric magic they bring into our barren internal worlds.
We feel flattered and the stage is set for being manipulated. Suddenly the giver of compliments becomes important to us because we feel very grateful towards that person. We find that we are ready to do anything for the person who made us feel so good. Also, we don't want to spoil that person's favourable opinion of us. Since we don't create positive feelings for ourselves, we depend on others to make us feel good and open ourselves to being exploited.The experience of being honoured by compliments is entirely different. To feel honoured is to be happy that others recognise what we already know about ourselves. We are not taken by surprise, flustered by the richness of the compliment, or confused by it. We already know that we have that wonderful quality, feel good about it and are able to enjoy the quiet pleasure of its being echoed by someone else. We remain centred and don't feel a need to be grateful to the other person for complimenting us. The person is only reminding us of what we know.
This allows us to figure out if the person is trying to butter us up or if heshe is genuinely appreciative. We stay grounded in ourselves, make appropriate decisions and don't feel obliged to please the person. We remain in charge of ourselves.
Of course, this involves personal growth, re-examining our idea of humility and learning to recognise and appreciate our wonderfulness on our own. A rich, self-appreciative inner world keeps us firmly anchored in ourselves instead of being destabilised and swayed by a compliment.

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