Do you have a hard time accepting compliments?

I was speaking at a convention on Monday and I was struck by an interaction I had with two individuals. One gentleman, I’ll call Joe, came early to my session because he wanted to get a front row seat and take some pictures. We chatted for a bit when a second gentleman, I’ll call Sam, arrived. Joe asked Sam and I if we could stand together while he took a picture of the two of us. We both said sure.

As Sam came over to stand by me, Joe commented to me that Sam was a really terrific guy and I should surely get to know him. No sooner did those words come out of Joe’s mouth, Sam literally waved Joe off and said something like “no I’m not.”

I immediately stepped back and said to Sam: Joe just paid you a lovely compliment and you totally deflected it. Caught in the act, Sam turned back to Joe and thanked him.

Once the picture was taken, Sam approached Joe, asked for the camera, and told Joe to come stand by me and he would take a picture of the two of us. I was shocked again when this time, Joe said something like: let’s not, I’m really not that important.

What’s so remarkable about this, and I really shouldn’t be so shocked when it happens, is that here we have two obviously smart and intelligent men, both of whom have such loud egos that they have no sense of their worth and value. Remember, the ego tells everyone: you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, and you’re not lovable. The only difference from one person to another is how loud the voice is and how much we listen.

So here’s something for you to check out: do you deflect compliments? Start noticing. Are you like either Joe or Sam? If you are, it’s a sure tipoff that you’re listening to that negative voice of your ego. Next time someone gives you a compliment, just smile and say thank you. Let it in. Let yourself be acknowledged. And tell your nasty ego to shut up.