July 21, 2015
Women's Plaza of Honor
The other day a young woman I know deflected a compliment. A seasoned old woman, I admonished her, saying that not taking compliments is bad for self-esteem and leads to being dismissed in society. Also, it insults the giver.
She expressed her instictive horror at appearing to brag or be conceited. She also didn't want to be seen as ungrateful. As we discussed this we realized that while we both feel uncomfortable with appearing braggy or full of ourselves we also recently had experiences with being passed over or not taken seriously -- or even SEEN -- because we waited for others to acknowledge our contribution.
Worse still, our ungracious deflecting was surely an insult to the giver and invalidates their opinion.
So then today I laughed because I was cleaning up files and updating my resume and came upon an honor, a compliment, really, that I myself didn't want to brag on and thereby have failed to fully acknowledge the gift of receiving it.
I felt funny about "bragging" so I accepted this honor privately and although I squealed with delight with my mom (it's not bragging when it's your mom), I took the modesty route and didn't make a big deal over it. But it is a big deal when someone acknowledges you and your work and while I fall over myself to do that for others I have never found a way to feel gracious doing it myself.
After all, we don't do this work for the fame or the money or to be loved. We do it because we are inspired to and want to help others, just as those who came before us and inspired and encouraged us.
I am HONORED and GRATEFUL and very pleased to have been nominated and accepted for a brick in the Women's Plaza of Honor at The University of Arizona by my friend and fellow advocate, Jennifer Aviles. Thank you for noticing and showing your appreciation for my advocacy. I can't tell you how thrilled and validated and happy it makes me. I am proud to be among other women so honored.
Taking a bow, and blushing, and encouraging us all to take compliments with at least as much pride as modesty.