I complimented you once.
You may have hesitated before saying thank you.
You might have undermined it completely.
Either way, it didn't quite feel like my compliment landed in your heart and exploded into light and love in all your cells like I'd intended.
What's up with that?
Why is it so difficult to accept compliments? To celebrate our successes and to be happy?
In this week's Epic Couples podcast, Difficulties with Compliments and The Shame in Thriving, Shaun and I explore the difficulties of celebrating and receiving compliments. We also talk about how our culture reveres the struggle and shames thriving even with sex, love, and relationships.
We discuss how to hold space for your partner, the differences between frustration and resentment, and how to give yourself love, safety, and belonging.
I also talk about giving up a lot of myself to cultural norms of domesticity to be a particular type of woman, spouse, and mother. All in an attempt to earn worthiness, love, safety, and belonging....
You can hear Shaun say, “I’m going through a little phase called this world fucking sucks” and “having sex with you and seeing you naked is the happiest I get.”
Two nice juxtapositions there.
So what happens when you let compliments in?
Let's find out with these five steps:
STEP ONE: Relax
I invite you to close your eyes...maybe once you've read through all of the steps in this little exercise.
Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeper. Let your breath become long and slow, and let your mind begin to calm. Tune into your body and any sensations you feel within.
STEP TWO: Imagine
Imagine for a moment that you are full of love, filled with love—your heart, your chest, your torso, your legs, your arms, your head.
Imagine you are safe—you are warm, you are grounded, you are protected.
Imagine you are belong—you are connected to every inch of yourself, you accept your body, accept your mind, you belong to your partner, to your family, to your friends.
Then imagine a celebrity you think is attractive or that you admire walks through the door, sees you, and stops to compliment you.
STEP THREE: Feel and Notice
Now notice what you feel inside your body—any sensations like heat, contraction, numbness, electricity, tingling, coolness, openness—as you hear and take in this compliment from this attractive or admirable celebrity. Where can you feel this sensation?
STEP FOUR: Ask and Listen
Keep breathing, and then ask this sensation what it wants for you. If you have trouble hearing an answer, ask this sensation what its purpose is in serving you. And then listen.
Oftentimes we can't receive compliments because we are protecting ourselves. We have habits and beliefs that get in the way of us accepting someone else's words. We can address this by learning to listen to these pieces that are too scared or too weary of being seen and loved. And then we can see them and love them ourselves.
You're worthy of that love. And you deserve those kind words.
Let them in. <3
All my love,
P.S. To find out what’s missing from couples counseling and to get insight into what it takes to have an epic relationship, go to danielatanner.com to download a quick guide.
P.P.S. You can subscribe to stay up-to-date with new episodes of the Epic Couples podcast via iTunes and Stitcher.