Thursday, January 15, 2015

Compliments and Free Couches: Learning the Art of Self-value

I work retail, so between helping customers and stocking shelves there is usually quite a bit of time to converse with my boss and coworkers. Lately, one of our favorite topics of discussion has been my endeavors into dating that, I have to admit, are pretty comical. While discussing my most recent “failure to launch” my boss quipped, “Maybe you’re like a couch that you don’t want anymore, if you put it on the curb with a sign that says “FREE” no one will touch it, but as soon as you say it costs $5, it will go”. It was funny and as I thought about it throughout the rest of my shift that day I began to realize how true it was: no one will recognize the value of what you are offering until you put value on it yourself.

That night, on my bike ride home, I received one of the most meaningful compliments I’ve been offered recently. A pedestrian shouted to me (twice), “You’re lights are excellent!” I replied with a quick “Thank you” and continued home because while my lights were excellent, my clothing choice was not and I was really cold. As I arrived home I began to ponder why I appreciated this stranger’s compliment so much. It was because I agreed with him. My lights are excellent: I’ve spent a decent amount of money on them and get pretty excited when talking about them. It was nice to have someone else acknowledge the value I put on them.

It made me realize that there are a lot of compliments that I am offered that I don’t receive, a lot of praise that I shrug off insisting that the person must be misinformed. I simply don’t agree with them about the value they see in me. I want to learn to see the value others see in me and stop deprecating the man that I am. I want to be able to receive any compliment offered to me with genuine thanks.

This concept transfers into my faith life because the biggest compliment that I constantly reject is that I’m beloved, so much so that Jesus was willing to die for me in order to have a relationship with me. Brennan Manning wrote, “Genuine self-acceptance is not derived from the power of positive thinking, mind games or pop psychology. IT IS AN ACT OF FAITH in the God of grace.” It is time for me to have a little faith, accept myself as I am, and learn to receive any and all compliments I am offered.

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