What You’re Worth
Kris Gage

cover photo by pexels

A point on compliments.

Compliments are often a tricky thing for people. The predominant attitude towards them is often dependent on the culture of a place.

In the UK, people are expected to always put forth a self-deprecating front to the rest of the world. One must never brag or be excessively self-complimentary. It’s not The Done Thing.

When one receives a compliment, the correct response seems to be some variant of

“It’s nothing, really, you know?”.

And it’s ridiculous.

This prescription benefits nobody at all and exists solely to satisfy outmoded social mores. It’s downright insulting.

When someone compliments you for your makeup or the way you move when you dance or maybe because you make a killer cup of coffee, they’re expressing admiration for what you’re doing or what you’ve accomplished.

To offhandedly shoot that down with “Oh it’s nothing” insults both the person giving the compliment and the recipient. In so doing, you are effectively gas-lighting the person who’s just told you that you’re great — you’re telling them that what they’re seeing is actually not what’s there and that their admiration, positivity, and encouragement are misplaced.

In the same stroke, you’re totally negating your own innate talent, skill, flair, passion, and ability. You’re telling your own self that the hours of practice you’ve put in, even if not intentional, are completely irrelevant and meaningless. You’re knocking yourself down just for the sake of social niceties in the vain hope that the person complimenting you might feel less bad because they might consider themselves inferior to you.

If the person doing the complimenting expects you to brush it off and denigrate yourself so that they feel better, however, then they’re a total dick.

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