Receiving Kindness and Letting it in

Post by Kandice Cole for the Kind Kindred series.

image courtesy of DeathbyCuriosity on

I was boarding a plane on my way back home to Chicago and the flight was completely full. The aisle was jam packed as people quickly tried to put away luggage. I was holding my carry-on and waiting for a few minutes in the front of the aircraft. I stood in front of a woman who was seated in the aisle. She got up, leaning her face towards mine. I thought that she was trying to get something from the above head compartment, and started to move back to give her a bit of space.

Instead, she looked me in my eyes and said, “You are really beautiful. Your face is gorgeous.” I was taken aback for a second. I quietly said thank you and smiled as the line began to move on the airplane. She nodded and sat back down.

The comment was lovely and what I most appreciated was the sincerity of it all. That is what touched me so deeply: I felt really seen and not just in a physical sense. The way she peered into my eyes made me feel genuinely connected to her in that quick moment.

This was also one of the first times that I inhaled a compliment without immediately trying to get out of it. I didn’t find myself saying something like “Oh I get these good genes from my mom” (which I do, but that is my way of deflecting attention from myself). I also wasn’t thinking something like “She must not be able to see my dark circles because of the lighting on the plane”.

I let it in. I let the kindness of her spirit in and felt it deeply in my being. The world is such a kind place if we let the kindness in. When it comes to receiving compliments, we can be unkind to ourselves by not fully accepting the compliment of another. I think i’ts time for us to start joyfully accepting compliments, those fleeting moments of kindness, that people offer us each day.

How can we receive more kindness?

We can simply listen to the compliment. Rather than interrupt or begin deflecting (the whole this old thing…), be open to what others are seeing in you. It’s nice to hear another’s perspective, whether it is completely new, or affirming something you already know.

Say thank you. Give complete gratitude. That’s it. No thank you with a but attached or a compulsion to give a compliment back. Just a simple thank you. The greatest gift you can give the giver is pure, unadulterated gratitude.

Connect. Let the power of it into your being. Take a breath and feel into the kindness of those around you who want to compliment you for being awesome.

I believe that in putting out kindness, more kindness comes back to us. It’s time for us to be really swept up by the simple moments of kindness and joy that are abounding each day. Will you let it in?

I’m Kandice Cole and I’m a writer and teacher. I write over on my blog Vulnerability is Sexy and released my e-guide, “Everyday Experiences, Extraordinary Lessons” earlier this year. All my work is about encouraging people to live the life they want right now so that they can come more alive, and ultimately serving the world with that aliveness.

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