One of my inspirations on this is Don Miguel Ruiz – whom I paraphrase thus: “Don’t take insults personally, but don’t take compliments personally either.” Indeed this invites the questions “What should one take personally?” or “How should one take things?”, but I digress…
More to the point, praise or kind words can also destabilize, don’t you find? Here’s a fun exercise: take the last compliment you remember somebody giving you…
That’s it, that’s the exercise. Fun, huh? If you’d like to go further, feel free to… well, to feel. I mean say if the compliment was “you’re the best”, or “you’re really amazing” or “I love it when you’re here!” – well, did you actually take the compliment and feel ‘the best’ or ‘really amazing’ or that touching connection? And do you remember how you replied?
Sure, a lot of people say ‘Thank you’ and some even venture a charmingly confident “I know!”, but how did we actually feel when we got that last admiring comment? The thing is, even if our answer is ‘really amazing’, it would seem that we are taking the compliment personally!
One of my uncles once told me “Sometimes we see ourselves in the world, and sometimes we see the world in ourselves”. Well this idea is pretty helpful when receiving (and taking and reorienting) a compliment, and may indeed help in not taking it personally… Try this out if you like, next time you receive a compliment: perceive how much of what the complimenter is recognizing “in you” is actually part of themselves… this is also useful to observe in receiving verbal attacks.
However, if you start using Irimis when faced with compliments, it may initially help us avoid feeling destabilized, but it can be tricky to convey that you’re not fishing for more compliments! For example: I fsomesone says “You’re so awesome!” and I reply “What makes you say that?”… Indeed, coudl I be looking for more flattery?
I guess, if your ego is in check, and your intention is to use this as an opportunity to further develop the relationship, you should be just fine. One of the most fitly inviting responses I witnessed was a VA practionner who, in a professional context recently, replied to a compliment with “Thank you, would you like my card?” – needless to say, an ideal networking opportunity!