I suppose my husband is used to me telling stories about him by now. He’s a good sport. He is a broadly accomplished man. In other times he would have been called a renaissance man. A fine artist who makes an art of repairing an engine. Understanding the weather. Recognizing birds from great distances. Oh. But I digress. It’s sufficient to say he’s skilled at hosts of things and levels. Yet his life experience has not served up validation for this knowledge. His experience has been one of contradiction and doubt. Teasingly we suggest that he may have been raised by wolves. The tone is his home was one of criticism rather than celebration. So he’s been schooled to “stick up for himself.”
This very day I said to him, “You are so accomplished. Thank you for all the ways you make our home better.” His response sounded like he was arguing with me. “I DO make our home better.” We’ve talked about the fact that he has had to provide affirmation of his own skills throughout most of his life. At a cellular level he may be more prepared for criticism than praise.
Today, understanding that, I just took advantage of an editing trick. I asked, “Could we go back and just re-write that exchange? I’d like to see how you feel simply looking at me, seeing my love and saying out loud, ‘Thank you very much.’ ” We did.
The smile lingered on both our faces for quite a few minutes.
When you receive a compliment today…pause and make sure you aren’t getting ready to argue with the person giving it. Practice. Just say, “thank you.” It sweetens the moment for everyone.