Taking the Compliment…

” Your daughter is beautiful!” Aw she is, isn’t she? Thank you.

“I love her coat.” I know, isn’t it gorgeous?

“Your son is so funny.” Yeah, he cracks me up.

“You look gorgeous.” Aye right, I haven’t even brushed my hair.

“I love your top” Penney’s best.

“Those are nice jeans.” Oh I’ve had these old things for years.

“Is that a Hilfiger shirt?” It was on sale!

Notice anything?

We don’t know how to take a compliment.

Nothing new there. We all know that the Irish don’t take compliments well. We are suspicious of them. We don’t like them. For some reason, they make us feel very uncomfortable.

But when someone compliments our kids, we are more than happy to agree with them. If someone points out something positive about your little minion, chances are that you will be delighted that they’ve noticed and you will nod in agreement, as proud as punch.

However, if the same person tells you with their next breath that YOUR hair is lovely, you will most likely find yourself disagreeing and parting your hair to show them just how badly your roots need redone.

So what the hell is wrong with us?

If I tell Mini-Me that she looks beautiful or that her hair is pretty, she smiles at me and says “Thanks Mum” or “I know!” (shock horror!)

She takes the compliment. She doesn’t NEED it to feel better or to affirm her or any other such nonsense. She takes it, because at 7 years old, she doesn’t find it strangethat someone would praise her or compliment her.

She is indeed beautiful x

It is not unusual to her that someone might point out something positive.

She is not suspicious of compliments.

She doesn’t need to be.

So when does that stop? When will she suddenly begin to apologise for her positive features? When will she become flushed with embarrassment because someone comments on how well she dances?

What will happen to make her suddenly feel that she should disagree with someone who tells her she is clever, or pretty, or talented or funny?

Will she simply wake up some morning, feeling the need to apologise for being good at something, or for being nice?

Now, of course I know that we must teach them to be humble also. No one likes a boaster. But why the hell should we teach them that they should apologise for being good at something?

Why should we teach them to disagree with someone who is genuinely being nice to them?

When did humility become the same thing as humiliation?

Because somewhere along the way, we’ve confused the two.

If someone admires your hair today, reply by saying “I know! It’s sitting nice today isn’t it?” I dare you. And watch their reaction.

It’s pretty likely that they’ll flinch in surprise.

If someone admires your top, try “Thanks, I like it too.” (Would you have bought it if you didn’t?)

If someone points out something that you are good at, thank them and tell them “Yeah, I try hard.”

If they walk away from you thinking you’re big headed or conceited, then who has the problem? If they meant the compliment, they won’t mind that you agree with them.

Does it not make sense that if we were to let our kids see us accepting compliments more comfortably, maybe we’d be helping them?

Our kids learn by watching us, our behaviours, our responses. Someday soon, when Mini-Me hears me answering “Oh God, this old thing?” or “Aw my skin’s a mess” or “God no, I sound dreadful!”, then she’s going to store it in her bank of “Acceptable grown up things to say” isn’t she?

And therein begins that humiliation.

We all do it.

I do it. I did it yesterday when a friend praised me. I automatically told him he was full of nonsense.

Why? If he hadn’t thought I was good, he wouldn’t have bothered to tell me I was, so why did I disagree with him?

Because we are trained, somewhere along the line, to apologise for ourselves.

Because acknowledging our own strengths and positive characteristics is seen as terribly obnoxious and wrong.

Because one day, without even realising it, we learned that to accept a compliment was wrong.

We’re hardwired to think the worst about ourselves; to worry about what others think. Being a parent brings a new level of this.

We are constantly comparing ourselves, berating ourselves, apologising for our decisions, for our behaviour, for our children’s behaviour.

But the sooner we can rewire ourselves to look more closely for our own positives, the more chance we have of teaching our children that it’s OK to say “thank you” when someone compliments us.

Plenty of people will thrive on bringing them down, on highlighting their weaknesses and flaws. We need to teach them to recognise those people. And we need to teach them that if someone feels the need to comment on them in a negative way, then it’s that person who has the problem, and not them.

So accept the compliment.

Let your children hear you accepting it. Let them see that it’s OK to be proud of yourself sometimes and that you don’t need to ever apologise for being good, or kind, or talented or clever.

And give someone a compliment today too. Feel free to compliment your friends in the comments below.

Let’s SHARE some love today!

You never know whose day you might just make.

By the way, you have a lovely smile!

Supporting Fellow Writers – Not Just a Princess

My Blogging Buddy Gavin Leonard from Not Just a Princess  blog is launching his Kickstarter campaign to get his gorgeous book series up and running today.

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Gavin wants to spread the message that little girls can be anything they want to be and that they should not be pigeon holed by stereotypes or gender expectations.

 

He says that the idea and “name for this little project of mine came from me continuously insisting that Jade was “Not Just a Princess” despite all of our family and friends telling me that she could be a baby model, or that she was like a little ballerina, or that she was going to break hearts! No one said she was going to win a Nobel Prize, or invent something amazing, or that she could be the President – and when I said she was going to be a Kung Fu Master or a Ninja, these ideas were dismissed out of hand.”

He says “Although I’m not necessarily against the Princess genre, I do think that the stereotype we are unknowingly projecting onto young girls can be very damaging. There might not be hard evidence to back up this feeling but whoever she wants to be, I want my little girl to know I’ve got her back!”

I couldn’t agree more!

And so the Not Just a Princess Books were created.

They are launching at 4pm today!  

And they are beautiful.  My two have been reading them daily since they got them last month.

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Mini-Me and Princess love these books

The large font is clear and appealing to younger readers and means that Mini-Me can read them by herself and she loves reading them to her little sister.  The stories are simple but exciting.  Jade finds herself in all sorts of situations and dilemma, and is helped efficiently by her friends, all of whom have skills required to deal with the problem.

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Read me a story

They particularly love the book where Maria helps. (I’ve told them she’s named after me, I’m joking of course, but Gavin has named the characters after the strong women he knows.)

The illustrations are beautiful; bright and colourful with realistic images of the characters.

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The books are Beautiful 

We love these books in our house and wish Gavin and Jade all the best with the their launch.

Oh!  And I have a set to give away on my Facebook Page so pop over there to be in with a chance of winning.

 

The girls were gifted these books by Gavin, but I was under no obligation to share or support his launch.  I am happy to support these books.

I am Stop and Check Your BigWee Boobies Mum

Boobies.

I’m not going to lecture. I’m not going to spout facts and figures at you. I’m not trying to scare you.

I am however going to tell you all to #Checkyourbigweeboobies

And I hope that you will all pass it on.

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Breast cancer is one of those things that has touched us all.

Breast Cancer is also one of those things that we tend to ignore, hoping we won’t have to worry about it. When it presents itself however, we are reminded just how quickly our lives can change.

In the past week, I’ve been reminded of it.

Twice.

And both made me sick to my stomach at just how close it is and just how quickly it can decide to walk into our lives.

One was a family member whose mammogram resulted in a speedy trip to Galway and thankfully nothing sinister to worry about.

“For now.”

We are grateful and relieved, but for a few long days, even the thought that there MIGHT have been a different outcome was enough to render a few of us useless. The relief we felt can’t be put into words. It doesn’t have to be. Most of us have been there at some point.

The other was a friend of mine, younger than myself, a young, busy Mammy, who has had an absolute whirlwind in the past few weeks too. Found a lump. Hoped it was nothing. Went to Doc. Found it was something. Biopsy, fear, tests, panic…nightmare. But thankfully, she too got the all clear.

“For now.”

And yet, sitting in those waiting rooms, in those clinics, were people who did not get the all clear. Who were not told things were OK. Whose “for now” became “Now.”

And Ladies, both have shaken me to the core.

One, because my world would have fallen apart with any other diagnosis. The other, because I was starkly reminded that it’s not something we worry about when we’re older.

It’s something we must worry about now. TODAY. Together.

Here’s some fab information from Breast Cancer Ireland.

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There’s loads more information on their website.

So do yourself a favour. Check your WeeBig Boobies and get the Ladies you love to do the same.

And if there is ANYTHING causing you even an ounce of worry, get it checked out asap. Better to be told you’re grand, than to wish you had rang.

The S-Mum

#CheckYourWeeBigBoobies