Recently, someone asked me a question about what I was doing professionally, and I heard myself give a very minimizing answer. It reminded me of a friend who used to say, “don’t play takeaway” when speaking about ourselves or our accomplishments.
Many of us can relate to this when someone pays us a compliment, and instead of saying ‘thank you’ we downplay what was complimented. We might say, “oh, this old thing” when someone recognizes something nice we are wearing or “anyone can do that” when our creative talents are recognized.
Downplaying ourselves can become a habit and we might not even realize we are doing it until we have a moment of clarity, and really hear ourselves. I actually said to this friend after a few minutes, “you know what? I realized I just minimized my answer and would like to respond in the way that is more accurate, and the way I would have liked to respond originally.”
This led to a very meaningful conversation about how she too, can undervalue herself in certain areas of life as well. As a result of this honest and empowering exchange, we both left feeling good about ourselves and more connected with each other.
There is nothing arrogant about accepting a compliment or feeling proud of ourselves about some aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, many of us think we are being conceited or full of ourselves if we express satisfaction about something we have done or are doing.
Humility is a beautiful quality but is quite different than putting ourselves down or minimizing any positive acknowledgments that are directed our way.
Do you catch yourself diminishing aspects of who you are?
Pay attention to the words you use when someone pays you a compliment or asks about your life. Be sure not to sell yourself short.