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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Say, "Thank You" Then Shut Up

  " have made humans a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor."
Psalm 8:5

"We are stardust.  We are Golden.  And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."
Joni Mitchell

One day years ago when I worked in the theater I bumped into a friend who had the previous night seen a show I had directed.  She had retired as a teacher of theater and drama in public high school, and I valued her opinions and criticism.   She was quite complimentary of the show to the point of being effusive.  My response was to begin a litany of all the things I thought were wrong with the production.   After a moment my friend put up her hand to stop me and said, "Andy, when someone gives you a compliment, just say 'Thank you.' then shut up."

What is it about us that won't let us receive from others?  What's behind insistence on deflecting gratitude, kindness, generosity and compassion from someone else?  Is it pride?   Or inferiority? More importantly, how can we learn to let go of resistance to seeing ourselves as capable, worthy, and appreciated?

Things like pride, inferiority, and self-pity are sometimes so deeply ingrained in our lives that we don't realize we aren't accepting the gifts others give us.  We may have even been taught and led by religion to believe we are unworthy of love and grace.

Whatever the source of our defenses, the reality is that each and everyone of us is a magnificent, wonderful creature, as the Bible says, created "in God's image,"  living in an abundant world that continually gives.    

It may not be as easy as my friend suggested, but at least it is a beginning.   When someone gives you a compliment today simply say "Thank you" then shut up.   Take a walk in the sunshine, or rain, or wind - take a deep breath of life and say "Thank you." then be quiet. Rest in the grace of a moment and enjoy where you are and who you are.

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