Why do some of us shy away from the gift of praise?
It’s a question I’ve been asking myself due to a perplexing reaction I recently had to one of my most #1 fans. Of the thousands people who have read my stories over the years, there are a handful that wholeheartedly and unabashedly support and enjoy what I write.
One is my mom, one is my sister and one is Hillary. I see Hillary about once a year, usually at the birthday party of one of my nieces. This year, it was on Labor Day at this popsicle’s 8th birthday party.
I was late arriving and the guests were outside on the deck. When Hillary saw me coming through the dining room she launched out of her seat, blazed a trail toward me, stretched out her arms and gushed, “Oh My Gosh! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
I instinctively knew she was not thanking me for last year’s Christmas card…
…but for writing again.
I immediately extended my arm in front of me, my hand a human stop sign and blurted, “Shut up!” I lept out of her path to hide behind the other pane of the sliding glass door. In my mind and in my heart the “Shut up” comment was sarcastic, lighthearted, joking.
But in my soul, I question, why did I react that way?
The other day, I watched as a Teenage Girl walking down the sidewalk gestured for a passing car to pull over. After it slowed to the curb, she walked toward the open passenger side window as her Friend began singing Happy Birthday. Friend had barely made it through the first line when Teenage Girl arrived at the car with both hands raised, birds flying.
Teenage Girl was smiling, shaking her head and chuckling, but nonetheless, F-bombing Friend in sign language. Friend obliged and stopped singing.
The encounter between Teenage Girl and Friend made me again consider my reaction to Hillary.
Why do some of us, when we are being celebrated, reject or attempt to divert attention? Teenage Girl could have walked joyously toward Friend’s car with a smile on her face, gladness in her heart and waited for the song to be finished before wholeheartedly thanking her Friend for remembering her birthday.
But she didn’t.
I could have stood in the dining room as Hillary blazed through the sliding glass door, awaiting her praise and absorbing with great happiness her joy, appreciation and heartfelt, spirit filling pleasure at thanking me for writing again.
But I didn’t.
Pay attention to your own reactions. Are you rejecting praise that is rightfully yours and you should be proud to receive? Are you embarrassed to be the center of attention? Is your gut reaction to hide behind the sliding glass door or speak Teenage Girl’s love language and flip off your Friend, albeit jokingly?
I’m asking myself those same questions. But one thing I do know. The other night, I watched Tyra Banks strut her stuff on America’s Got Talent in front of celebrating crowds.
(She walks onstage at minute 1:19…scroll forward in the video below so you can see what I mean.)
Next time I am on the receiving end of a what feels like a standing ovation, I am going to stand tall, proud, envision myself in Tyra’s stunning red gown and embody the Super Star that I Am.
I hope, if you struggle with this, you will too.
P.S. Help me spread the word…if people think we’re great, we should let them!! Share this on Facebook and with your friends! And go put on your red dress!