New Year’s ‘Conflict’ Resolution No. 5: Just say “Thank you”!



Our fifth and final New Year’s Conflict Resolution is easy – Just say “Thank you”!

Or is it really that easy…?

Sometimes it’s hard for us to accept a compliment. How often does someone say something nice to us and we respond with, “You don’t mean that,” “You’re just saying that…” “You must be joking – I look fat in this…” or with complete silence?

If someone offered you a gift you wouldn’t unwrap it and say nothing or even worse: “It’s awful, I hate it, take it back…” So why is it so difficult for us to accept a compliment?

Sometimes it’s easier for us to deflect a positive remark because we want to avoid dealing with people – even with people who care about us enough to notice the good stuff and boost our confidence.

No matter how pleased we are at receiving a compliment sometimes appearing pleased makes us feel as though we are appearing vulnerable because we are acknowledging the power another person has to make us happy.

Our primitive limbic brain (#MonkeyvzLizard), which is primed to alert us to danger and keeps us defensive and ready to attack, immediately assumes that the person paying the compliment is after something, one of our basic needs such as our share of food, sex, our shelter. If we are stressed the limbic (lizard) brain’s survival instincts can override the pre-frontal cortex’s (monkey brain’s) trust instinct and trigger our Fight or Flight response – even at a compliment!

But we can reverse this primal response by simply saying “Thank you”. No ‘ifs’, no ‘buts’, no ‘My bum looks big in this’ – just “Thank you” and smile. Your body will respond to your brain’s instruction that you are pleased and that it’s safe to look pleased.

So always accept a compliment as you would a gift. Just smile and say thank you: it’ll make both of you happier!

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