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Accept It, Return It

November 6, 2014

You look amazing! What a marvelous smile! You have gorgeous eyes! You have a remarkable sense of humor! That color looks excellent on you! I adore your outfit, you always look magnificent! Hats are fantastic on you! You are one of the most incredible, amazing, and inspirational people I’ve ever met!

Blushing yet? Or...feeling slightly uncomfortable? Let me guess. If you felt a tinge uncomfortable as you read the first paragraph your brain undoubtedly went into autopilot and started shuffling 90 mph through your repertoire of excuses for just such an occasion as being paid a compliment. Too many of us have trouble accepting a sincere compliment; often times denying the accolade by responding “I hate hats on me.” Or “I hate my,” whichever applies. Such a shame to deny an act of kindness by another person, especially since kindness, along with respect, seems to be waning character traits. Friends, just accept it and say “Thank you very much.”

Speaking of character traits, allow me to interject with a short story about my four-year old granddaughter. All of us were at a festival recently and she was dressed in a red dress with a sliver star on the front. Upon seeing her, one of the festival workers commented to her about how beautiful she is to which she simply replied, “Thank you,” and smiled. The attendant was honestly shocked, saying something to the effect, “She said ‘thank you,’ who is this kid?” Then he complimented her parents for teaching her to respond to kindness with kindness.

Based on this example, let’s take a closer look at kindness so we may better deduce our ‘autopilot’ responses. Actually, Charles Stanley spoke in-depth last Sunday on the qualities of a kind person. Before we digress as to how well you accept a compliment let’s first see how many qualities of a kind person you possess.

Paraphrasing Stanley’s list a kind person: smiles; forgives; is generous; does not insist on having their own way; is willing to be second by putting others first; is concerned for others; loves; is warm hearted, understanding and unselfish; they use kind words; are helpful, courteous and grateful; they are merciful and will excuse the mistakes of others. They take pleasure in pleasing others and with all the other qualities they do so with a pleasant personality. A kind person is like watching goodness in action. I love the analogy: goodness in action. (Sigh...makes my heart smile.)

A kind person will hold a door open for someone, not rush through it themselves. They will let others pull into traffic in front of them, not rush to cut them off. Kindness means saying “Thank you very much,” to the cashier, wait staff, co-workers, bank tellers, plumbers, electricians, doctors, the person in the toll booth, the person who handed them a brochure or the cab driver who dropped them off. A kind person says ‘thank you’ to the voice on the phone when they call and inquire about something regardless of whether they received the answer they wanted. A kind person is kind to those who cross their path because they are sincerely grateful. A kind person wouldn’t say, “Oh, they’re just doing their job. I don’t need to thank them.” (Strike a chord? I hope not.)

Also, being a kind person means you understand when someone else is simply being kind. Hence, being the recipient of a compliment, an opened door or any of numerous acts of kindness. These small acts of kindness deserve kindness in return. Wouldn’t you agree? Or is your brain still shuffling through excuses. If it is then it’s up to you to change. Start by being more kind yourself. Simply saying “Thank you very much,” will go a long way toward disrupting your cache of fabricated justifications next time you’re the recipient of kindness. Because if you excuse it with one of your ready-made denials then you take something away from the person who offered the kindness...and that, my friends, is unkind.

Simply accept it. Return it with a simple “Thank you very much.” Yes, ‘thank you’ is enough because kindness doesn’t keep a score card. It wouldn’t be ‘kindness’ if it did. Some people have nothing to offer in return but sincere gratitude, which itself is kindness, and to a truly kind person that is a generous gift. For every act of kindness accepted new kindness blossoms.
Can you imagine...kindness for the sake of kindness?

Smile, it looks amazing on you!!




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