Over the last little while (weeks, months, years), as I have blogged more and had more and more people following, reading and commenting to me about my blog, I have had to come to a personal realization.
Sometimes, you just have to take the compliment.
See, apparently, some people like what I write. Some people like how I write. Some people like both. And sometimes, some of the various groups of people feel enough moxy to actually come right out and tell me that they like it. Whoa. I know. Crazy town.
My first reaction, invariably, is to deflect the compliment. To make up some kind of excuse for why I don't write well, or to explain why that one single post was actually decent when the rest of my shit, is just that...shit.
But as I said, lately, I have been thinking about it. Why is it so hard? Why can't I accept that I might, might actually be good at something? That I might be good enough at something that people are actually enjoying what it is that I am doing?
It shouldn't be hard. For some people, I don't think it is. Some people have that inherent sense of their own self worth (sometimes that self worth might even be a bit over inflated. Shocking, I know, but it happens). Whether through their upbringing or their surroundings or their friends or whatever, these people understand that they are naturally talented, and that they are deserving of the praise that is given to them. But what about the rest of us?
I don't have an answer, really. I guess there are a lot of factors for me. I worry that people are setting me up. That the compliment given, was given as a joke, or as a platitude, instead of genuine. You know that saying "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"? I guess I worry that people are just saying nice things, because they don't have anything else to say. Weird I know, but still there, in the back of my mind.
I worry that there is an inherent arrogance in accepting a compliment.
"Hey, that was totally awesome. Well done."
"Yeah. I know. I am amazing. About time you recognized it".
Ok, my conversations aren't actually like that, but I worry that sometimes the perception might be that it's what I mean.
So, I guess that sentence is more revealing that I expected it to be. Perceptions. I suppose that's what it's all about. At the end of the day, I worry about what other people think about me.
Don't we all? Really? If you are honest, don't you?
I know, in my heart, that I can write. I know that I am a good mom. I know that I am a strong and capable woman. I know that I am smart, and well spoken and well read. I know that I relate well to other people.
But I guess I worry that other people don't know that. I worry that just because I think it, that doesn't make it true. What if I am good, but not as good as I think I am? What if I am actually tricking myself? I am afraid that my self image seems to be often influenced by outside reinforcement.
Shame on me.
So, what do I do about it? I don't know, really. I guess self realization is an important step forward. I think putting myself out there for critique, by writing the blog in the first place is another step. If I was well and truly terrified of what people would say, then I wouldn't be showing this to anyone at all. My next step?
Take the damn compliment, I guess.
Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next compliment, please".