The Practice of Creativity

Affirmations-366Days#17-Do You Chronically Push Away Compliments about Your Creative Work?

Posted on: January 18, 2016

Don’t turn away what life wants to give you. A huge connection exists between what you are willing to receive and what you actually get. I call this step “Accept All Compliments” because I have noticed a correlation between people’s unwillingness to receive the simplest things in life, while at the same time having some pretty big expectations. Your ability to receive something as simple as a compliment is significant. It signals loud and clear that you are ready to receive.
Amanda Owen, The Power of Receiving

Affirmations-366Days#17: I receive compliments about my creative work with grace and do not externally or internally refute them.

How good are you at accepting compliments about the creative work you share with the world? Do you push away compliments about your creative work? Do you tell yourself that the person giving you a compliment is ‘only being nice’ or saying these things to you because they couldn’t find ‘the real artist’ that they wanted to talk to? Or, do you say back to them, ‘Oh, it wasn’t my best work, here’s all the things that are wrong with it’? Or, ‘That journal my poem appears in has a pretty tiny readership, so it’s not such a big deal’. If you have been in this situation (as I have on numerous occasions), then you know that the giver of the compliment gives you a funny look when you push away their compliment and often shrugs. And, then an awkward pause ensues. You’ve completely confused them!

If you find yourself perpetually pushing away compliments about your creative projects, then it’s time to unlearn this habit!

Open Hands --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Amanda Owen, author of The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve, has thought a lot about the connection between being able to receive and the ability to manifest one’s goals. She suggests that pushing away compliments and refusing to accept them “sends the message loud and clear that we don’t want to be given to. And life cooperates by being less giving.” Reading her work several years ago helped me realize all the ways that I pushed away my good in not gracefully accepting compliments about my creative writing.

I was such a chronic ‘pusher away’ of compliments that I had to train myself to just say ‘thank you’ and stay quiet for at least 20 seconds before saying anything else. Then, I try to follow-up with: ‘I worked so hard on that piece, I really appreciate your acknowledgement’ (or something like that). If you are a chronic ‘pusher away’, try your version of the above and see how it makes you feel.

I also acknowledge that gender socialization often plays a role in this issue. I have found (as a coach, professor and member of various creative communities), that women more often tend to be dismissive of their talents and/or downplay their accomplishments.

We can practice receiving compliments differently. And, the benefits of receiving compliments about our creative work can make us better receivers in other parts of our lives, too.

To see my 2014 interview with the fabulous Amanda Owen, go here.

For my review of The Power of Receiving, go here.

Open Hands — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

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1 Response to "Affirmations-366Days#17-Do You Chronically Push Away Compliments about Your Creative Work?"

Thanks, Michele, for writing about this important topic and for featuring my work. I really appreciate it!

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Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

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