Take A Compliment. Because It Was GIVEN to you.


I kicked ass today. I got up in front of a room full of people gave a presentation on a topic I don’t even fully understand myself and kicked ass. Afterwards, I had several people come up to me and compliment me on my vast knowledge on the topic in such a short period of time and professional presence. I work with some really smart people. Smarter than a lot of people. I work with doctors and scientist and engineers. I should have been totally stoked to get those compliments from such a group amazing intellectuals. I should have known myself that walking into a room with minds like that and impressing them was a huge feat. You know what I did instead? I shrugged it off. I got insecure. I joked. “Oh, I was faking it most of the time” or “did you really not notice I had no idea what I was talking about!? Whew!” and “well, I’m not curing cancer like you guys, but I get something once in a while”.

As I’m batting these compliments off like mosquitos it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve been encouraged to be modest my entire life by society. We’ve been taught that it’s not lady like to take a compliment. Think about the movies: “Wow, that sure is a nice dress” to which the young lady would reply “Oh, this old thing”? Now, I am curious, what about not taking a compliment makes you modest? I think it actually makes you slightly rude and annoying. Just keep in mind that I am talking about my most recent actions too before you get defensive. We’re just dissecting this thing together. So, I thought about when I give someone a compliment, women in particular and I thought about how they react. For example “wow, have you lost weight? You look amazing in that outfit!” to which the reply was, “no and I really need to loose like 10 pounds, you haven’t seen me sit down in this, my stomach just rolls up and it looks awful. Watch I’ll show you”. She was so determined not to take a compliment she even took physical action to show me wrong. It felt like she didn’t hear me or maybe she just couldn’t. Either way, I found myself feeling awkward and at a loss of what to say next. The conversation is different when someone takes the gift of the compliment you have given them. For example “Wow, you did such a great job on that project” to which they replied “Thank you, I worked really hard on it”. That was a smooth conversation that ended with a smile instead of a confused look wondering what to say next.

You see, the thing about compliments is that they are given to you. You are supposed to graciously accept them not refuse them. They are gifts, that is why they are given and not just stated. Have you ever heard the phrase “paid you a compliment”? That’s because they feel you are “worthy” of receiving it, they are recognizing your worth and therefore paying you a compliment. You in turn are supposed to accept this for a job well done. You wouldn’t turn your check back into your boss insisting that you were not worth the pay, you should not give their paid compliments back either. So, now that I have caught myself I have made an active effort to grit my teeth and reply to my compliments with a Julia Roberts smile and a great big confident “thank you!”. I hope that you will join me in accepting the recognition of others and in congratulating yourself on your own self-worth. Otherwise, you’re just making everyone stand around awkwardly trying to figure out what to say next. Because ultimately, confidence is always sexier than meek modesty any day.

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You’re Missing The Point….


Social-Media-Ruins-Minds


As human beings we have a unique ability to connect with each other in ways that can be more powerful than any other force. We’ve cured disease, fed the hungry, ended wars and accomplished the unimaginable. We hold the ability to connect with one another, to communicate and compromise. We should cherish each other and nurture our relationships. I always say that cab drivers are among my most favorite people. I have to say that I’ve never met a cab driver that has not completely intrigued me. Their job is to get human beings from one point to another and sometimes to talk to them in the process if they are lucky. Cab drivers know humanity in its most beautiful and ugly form and yet they almost always seem happy to see you. Sure, they have their bad days, after all they are human too, but mostly they just want to know your story. Maybe even more to the point, you want to tell your story. No matter who you are, when someone shows a genuine interest in you, that makes you feel good. You want to talk about the cutest ever thing your 2 year old did or how you’re worried you may lose your job. I think that is why Facebook has become so popular. It’s an opportunity every day for you to get up, get in your virtual cab and tell your story to all your cabby’s, who just happen to also be your friends and family in this case.

In some ways it’s a wonderful gift. We are able to keep up with friends and family near and far at just the click of a button. We get to share our stories every day right down to what we are eating for dinner that night. It’s truly feeding our basic need to be seen and heard, but maybe in the process we have turned into cannibals, using each other as prey. Somewhere along the line, we decided that because the cabby had put up the glass wall, in this case the internet, between us we could suddenly begin to judge him. We could suddenly start making giant signs on poster board and hanging them out the window of the cab with arrows pointing to him saying “I’m judging this person, and this is what I think of him”. To make matters worse, all of our friends who love and trust us are driving along the cab honking their horns and yelling “YES, JUDGE THAT PERSON I HAVE NEVER MET! JUDGE THAT SITUATIION I AM NOT A PART OF! I AM 100% BEHIND YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I AM ON BOARD NO MATTER WHAT I DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!” We would never do that in “real” life, but for some reason we feel it is OK to display this for all the world to see when we get to hide behind a screen. It’s not fair. It’s not right. It needs to stop.

I’m nowhere near perfect myself. I get frustrated and upset and I get pissed off and want to call people names. This is part of the gift and curse of emotions that we have been given. Learn to master your emotions and you will truly be enlightened. However, in the process of learning to control them, it doesn’t give you the right to let them control you. Before you decide it’s your right and emotional need to slander or stand on your Facebook soup box, you need only to ask yourself a few questions. 1.) Will this hurt someone? 2.) Is this helping someone? 3.) Am I merely looking for affirmation that I am right? I think the last one is the most important. Most of the time we are so caught up with being right, we forget to be loving. If you’re going to take a stand and attempt to rally people behind you. At least really them behind something that will project love, laughter and positive energy into the world. The point of Facebook was to get us connected, to each other, to the world, to ourselves. Don’t miss the point and use it to sabotage yourself or others. Step away from the computer, take a deep breath and move on. Be gentle with your cab driver, he is your ego. He is the one driving you to tell your story, to need to be heard, to need to be in control. Be gentle with your cab ego, ask him to slow down and take the long way home.

“Jumping to conclusions is like jumping in puddles, while it might be dramatically fun at the start, you just end up looking silly and dirty. Let’s leave that to the children.” – Tiffany Grace

The Truth About Turning 30


  • 995019_10152164777718179_64491131_nChina Bathroom

    The whirlwind of traveling to China, turning 30 and family holidays has finally come to an end. There are a few interesting common grounds I’ve learned to be true with travel and age. One being that you cannot possibly understand your true perspective on things until you have actually been there, no matter how much you think you know. I guess that might be a confusing statement, let me explain. When I was in my early 20’s I was absolutely dreading turning the big 30. I felt like my life would be over in certain ways. My ass would never be as firm, I would forever loose the chance of becoming a super star and the reality of my internal clock would start to click. With the knowledge I felt I had in my early 20’s, all of these things became truth in my reality at the time.

    In planning my most recent trip to China, of course I researched culture, food and clothing in order to assimilate as much as possible. As much as a 5’8 white redhead could at least.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t offend anyone, so I did not blow my nose in public, avoided public bathrooms, prepared to stick out like a sore thumb in crowds and packed sensible shoes. I strapped myself into my seatbelt on the airplane, grabbed the inflight magazine and prepared to start my long awaited and well researched trip. Once I opened the magazine I found a section that was all about western culture. Since I had just done so much research on their own culture I was curious to see what they had to say about ours. Here are just a few things the magazine had listed under corresponding photos that helped to illustrate their point.

    1.) “People in the US like to travel alone.” – This was coupled with a photo of a white male setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere and yes totally alone.

    2.) “On Memorial Day, many people in the US like to buy stationary”… Um?

    3.) “People in the US like to enjoy outdoor activities in their time off, like camping, hiking and Frisbee” – I suppose this one could be true enough, if not a generalized statement.

    It was in this moment that I made a horrible realization. Could it be that all of those “truths” I had read about the Chinese culture could be as ridiculous to them as these were to me? Yes. Yes, it could be true and was! Need to blow your nose in public? Please by all means do what you need to! Sensible shoes? Only if you count the 6 inch stilettoes that the girls wore EVERYWHERE, including on the steep steep great wall walk. All Asians are thin and short? All Asians are as diverse as we are. Public bathrooms are a disgusting sight better left unused? Actually, for the most part this one was true.

    My point you ask? There is simply no replacement for experience. In my experience so far, being 30 is amazing. I think my ass actually might be slightly tighter these days due to the decrease in alcohol that it was used to holding. Lost dreams of being a super star? Eh, I guess that depends on your definition of fame. Just last week my niece’s neighbor asked me for my autograph and not on a credit card receipt. Biological clock ticking? I’ll admit my uterus does start to hurt at the sight of adorable children, but I now know that these days child birth at 35 or 40 isn’t totally out of the question anymore.

    So, in 2014 I hope to make more discoveries through experience. Perhaps one day I will be able to set some of the records straight, but more likely you will prove me wrong with your very own experience and perspective. On that note, I will leave you with the last wisdom my Grandmother provided me during our traditional “what would you change about your life?” conversation on her birthday “Don’t get married and travel more.” Perhaps, I will have to let you know the experience outcome of the first suggestion in about 6 months.

    Happy New Year