Jul 31 2013
I was never the dude hitting night clubs every weekend. But I went to enough to know that bouncers are generally grumpy people.
One night, some of my buddies and I hit a club. One of them, Jon, was wearing a baseball hat and had it turned around backwards. A bouncer came over and told Jon to turn it straight or take it off. Jon basically told him no. Things escalated quickly and Jon ended up getting clubbed in the head with a huge MagLite flashlight. The gash required ten stitches.
When we hear compliments from people, there’s something inside most of us that acts like a bouncer. Our personal bouncer won’t let the compliment inside us and does everything he can to injure the compliment.
This bouncer needs to be personified. He needs a name. I call mine The Grump. The Grump doesn’t want anything good to come inside my heart. He stands guard and beats down any compliment that tries to come close. “NOT ON THE LIST!” he growls.
The Grump has only two replies to a compliment. If The Grump is in a bad mood, he says, “No! I’m not that thing you just said about me. I’m not good at that.” If The Grump is in a less-grumpy mood, he robotically responds, “Thank you” but doesn’t let the compliment come inside.
When we turn down compliments, we often imagine we’re doing the humble thing. We’re not. We’re sabotaging ourselves.
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them.
Inside us all is a voice we use to talk to ourselves. For most of us, this voice is overwhelmingly negative – almost wicked. “You’re dumb, you’re fat, you’re not talented, you’re ugly, your hair is stupid, you’re a loser, you’re not funny, you’re never going to be anything, you’re a failure.” These words lie in wait for blood. They cut us like an aggressive bouncer with a flashlight.
Compliments we receive from other people are the speech that rescues us from the tragedy of these negative voices. And when The Grump rejects these compliments, it’s like turning away a lifeguard while we’re drowning.
Compliments are a specialty food. Our hearts need to eat the kind words others speak to us instead of shoving them away like they’re dog food.
We live our lives from the inside and we’re often too close to ourselves to have a truly objective picture of who we are, what we are, and what we’re good at doing. The next time someone gives you a compliment and The Grump (or whatever you name your bouncer) steps up and says, “No entry.” Simply tell him, “NOT TODAY, GRUMP!”
Imagine the compliment landing on your heart. I’ve started physically touching my chest when someone says something nice about me – like I’m placing it on my heart.
Repeat the compliment back to yourself, “I am a good ______ (whatever the person said).” Write it down and review it later. I keep a notebook in the Evernote app on my phone called Rainy Day Encouragement where I write down things people say about me for the times I doubt myself. One of my friends had me record the thing I said about them into a voice memo – half joking, but half serious.
The best baseball players BELIEVE they’re going to hit a home run when they bat. If we’ll never see ourselves as special, we’ll never swing for the fences. Receive compliments. Eat them. Believe the good others see in you.