This week at Cents of Style we have been taking the Clifton StrengthFinder’s test and learning about individual and company strengths. I have witnessed an interesting phenomenon as we have actively had conversations about the personal strengths the test revealed.
“I always thought that was a weakness.”
“My strengths are exhausting.”
“I wish my strengths were different.”
These are all statements I heard from my Cents of Style Tribe and even one statement I said about my own strengths this week.
We have all been given divine talents and abilities, why is it that we have a hard time looking at them through a positive lens? Why do we only see the negative or lack in the things that are very best in us?
It is so much easier for us to see the best in another.
“You are such a good communicator.”
“Your people skills are amazing.”
“You have so much drive.”
The same positive statements that we freely give to a friend, colleague or child, we are unwilling to even acknowledge, much less say to ourselves. Moreover, when we are given a compliment from someone else we often deflect, negate, or dismiss it.
A friend may say, “I love how you make everyone feel included and loved.” And instead of simply saying, “thank you” and absorbing the kindness, you can hear us say:
“Oh, no. You are way better at that, than I am.” DEFLECTION.
“No. I was just being nice. You should have heard me with my kids last week. NEGATION.
“STOP. It’s no big deal.” DISMISSAL.
When we do this, we are basically rejecting the gift our friend is offering. It hurts her and us. It hurts her because we are subtly rejecting her kindness and love, telling her the words she speaks don’t matter. And it hurts us because we are minimizing ourselves and our gifts with the words we speak.
We participate in these deflection activities under the guise of “humility.” We disparage our gifts and ourselves because we don’t want to sound self-centered and stuck-up. But since when is a simple thank you being conceited? THANK YOU is a kindness to us and to the person giving us the gift of compliment.
It’s uncomfortable for us to stand and receive the positive in ourselves, but by simply practicing saying “thank you,” instead of dismissing we are practicing owning our strengths and talents a little at a time. Till one day we can look in the mirror and perhaps say, “Hell yes, I’m driven. I am serious. This is me and I love me.”