A few weeks ago I was invited to a small ladies lunch. I was surprised by the invitation because....well, I'm generally surprised by any social invitation. I'm not exactly drowning in friends and social invites in my neighborhood. But I was excited to go. Nervous, but excited. The problem is that when I get nervous I tend to talk too much. Mostly about nothing. And it's annoying. But that's another problem for another day.
My RSVP was a solid maybe since I had been sick. Oh my gosh, I had been sick for so long. Bronchitis, then pneumonia.....it was really just ridiculous. I am feeling better now, thanks for asking. Since my attendance wouldn't be concrete, I didn't end up bringing any food contribution to the luncheon. But every other member of the group brought something....soup, rolls, dessert, etc. It was really a lovely afternoon and I quite enjoyed myself. Except for the nervous talking. That was lame.
While we were eating lunch something happened that really stood out to me. Something that has probably happened at just about every lunch or dinner party I've ever been to, but for some reason this really stood out to me. And it made me sad.
When the meal began, our lovely hostess apologized for not having a large enough matching set of dishes for everyone. There were enough dishes for everyone to use, but they didn't all match. Here she had graciously invited us all to her home, but felt the need to apologize for a super hero cup. As each of the items were tasted and complimented, a similar thing happened.
"Oh, it's just soup from a mix. Nothing special."
"If I can make this, anyone can."
"It's just the three ingredient cookies. It wasn't that hard."
These kind, talented, funny, dedicated, amazing women felt the need to essentially put themselves down when given a genuine compliment. To explain how their efforts were nothing special. There was only one woman there who simply smiled and replied that the soup she had brought was a family favorite and she hoped everyone would like it. I can't help but think that the fact that she was not raised in the United States was a contributing factor to her being able to accept a compliment without letting you know how much she doesn't deserve it.
I'm certainly not pointing fingers here. There is not a doubt in my mind that I would have done the exact same thing.....had I actually brought something to contribute. (Other than my awkward over-talking) I can't even begin to count the number of times that I've made some sort of excuse as to why someone shouldn't be complimenting me. I'm not sure why we do it. Is it so we don't appear prideful and arrogant? Is it because we feel that we are too flawed in other ways to accept any kind of compliment? Or is it because, as a society, we have trained our girls to not feel like anything they do is enough?
I just don't know. What I do know is that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure my girls know that they can graciously accept compliments and not feel like they have to let the one giving the compliment know how they don't measure up. I'm going to do my best to teach my girls that doing their best is good enough. And I'm going to start by reminding myself (probably every. single. day.) that doing my best is good enough too.