Coasting on Compliments

Everyone likes to get compliments, right?
When someone hands me a genuine compliment, I feel like they're handing me a treasure chest with diamonds and rubies inside. The joy and love I feel from these compliments shine in my eyes far above any precious gem.

Yet I've found something very dangerous about this treasure. It is so easy to become fixed upon it, desiring still more and more. My hunger for it is never filled, because the precious jewels of compliments are only earthly, temporary treasures. Yet it is so easy to put it above everything else and make it the one thing I'm living for. So easy to get into the mindset that my life is worthless unless I can receive a compliment from someone.

You know how sometimes when you realize a problem you swing to the opposite extreme? I've done that with compliments. Instead of basking in compliments (and even fishing for them), I will discredit each one I get. I think "Oh, that person just said that because it was the right thing to say in this situation," or "Well of course they don't mean that." I might even say something to them like, "Thanks," but they can tell from my voice that I don't really think I deserve the compliment. This, unfortunately, isn't the right way to handle compliments either. It's only the opposite end of the same coin.

All these wrong ways to handle compliments. What is the root problem? In essence, it all comes down to worth and what you derive it from. When I fish for compliments and hold them close, I'm trying to get my worth from the people around me. I figure as long as I look good in others' eyes, I must be valuable. When I discredit compliments and myself, I'm trying to get my worth from a false sense of humility. I figure as long as I look like I'm being humble, I must really be humble deep down inside.

But where is my sense of worth supposed to come from? From God, my Maker and Creator. If I view myself rightly in relationship to Him, only what He says about me really matters. And you know what He has said about me? In John 15:9, Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."

Still, when you receive compliments, you should take them! I recently found a quote from Corrie Ten Boom that fits this perfectly. She had an interesting approach to compliments that I think strikes a balance. She says, "When people come up and give me a compliment... I take each remark as if it were a flower. At the end of the day I lift up the bouquet of flowers I have gathered throughout the day and say, 'Here you are, Lord, it is all Yours.'"

This is the perfect balance. I recognize that my worth is in Christ alone, yet I can still accept compliments. If I take each rose and daisy with thankfulness and appreciation, I can then thank God for the compliment and the person who gave it to me.

So what about you? Where in your life do you "coast on compliments?" How do you accept them gracefully?

10 vivid thoughts:

Elizabeth Rose said... {Reply}

I think I can sometimes be like you, Melody, in that I think to myself when I'm complimented, "Oh, they don't really mean that - it was just a nice thing to say." Corrie ten Boom's quote is... wow. That's the real way to take compliments. Accept them gracefully, but at the end of the day, hand them back to the One who truly deserves them.

Beautiful post!

Love in Christ,
Lizzy Rose

Eden said... {Reply}

Melody, this post was so well-written. :-) (Didn't mean to add a compliment, but I really do mean it.)

I think this concept is soooo important to people like me. God has blessed me with talents that I enjoy sharing with others and they, in turn, give me compliments. Many times I've been guilty of letting those compliments "go to my head" instead of surrendering them to Christ. This post is a great reminder that all compliments really belong to Jesus! I just LOVE the quote by Corrie ten Boom. So true AND poetic! Do you mind if I share it on my blog too?

Thanks again for writing about this, Melody!

Amber Noella said... {Reply}

Oh, that's a beautiful way to accept compliments! It all makes sense!--If Christ is really the One living in & through us, it really is HIM who deserves each compliment we receive, right?

Wow...thanks for writing this Melody! I needed it, it really puts things into perspective.


Laura(lea) said... {Reply}

This post was so thought provoking, and I think I will add your blog to my blogroll! :-)
I'm hosting a Leslie Ludy book giveaway at my blog! Check it out and spread the word!

Cassie said... {Reply}

Melody, dear friend, you are so wise. And you posted exactly what I needed to read today.

Yesterday was my beloved Grandmother's funeral and I sang two solos in honour of her. With hundreds of people at the funeral who all come up to you afterwards I was feeling very overwhelmed at the end of the day.

Late at night, when we got home I through my hands up in despair.
"I never want to hear that I have a pretty voice again!" I said, frustrated. I later found peace knowing that I made my grandma proud and she loved it when I received compliments so, in my mind, I handed them all back to her, in heaven.

The Corrie Ten Boom quote is perfect though. She and her life is such an inspiration, isn't it?

Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling and thank you again.

Your friend,

Anonymous said... {Reply}

A thoughtful, well-written post :) I find myself at the two extremes at times as well. I haven't heard that quote before, but I love it! I pray that that may be my attitude towards all compliments I receive, too.


PS. I think that photo is so fitting and inspiring! You know how, once in a while, you see a photo that just captures your imagination? That's what that did to me!

Anonymous said... {Reply}

I have the same trouble of going to the opposite extreme. I can't take compliments well in reallife. I get embarassed by them. :( They drive me nuts. I usually tell myself "they're only saying that b/c they want to be nice and make me feel better." :( And I only compliment when it's the truth and I really think something's noteworthy about *______ (fill in blank).

Just crazy me I guess. :) Great post by the way. ;)

Awel P.

Miss K said... {Reply}

Very thought-provoking post! It was very well-written and it really made me think. I am guilty of holding compliments to my heart-I need to work on that. I hope you will check out my online, Christian magazine: http://bloommagazine.webs.com I would love it if you became a subscriber and applied for the staff, if you're interested. Thanks!

Anonymous said... {Reply}

I tend to fall into what you're talking about, Melody. I have a sort of false humility, brushing off comments, but not really being humble in heart. I love that quote by Corrie ten Boom! I read it somewhere a while back, but had forgotten about it. What a perfect reminder!
Blessings in Christ,

Hope Marie said... {Reply}

I love that post( I really mean it) by the way Im having a giveaway go to www.rejoiceinhisword.blogspot.com to enter.


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