Now that I am in my fifties, I have learned something about myself and that is, that I do not accept compliments well. I was described as being “amazing” before 9 am yesterday and it made me very uncomfortable, as I do not feel at all amazing, so I tend to deflect compliments rather than accepting them graciously. I usually explain that I am not at all amazing, but that I am simply doing my best; but that is not what the complimenter wants to hear ,so I must work on just saying ‘thank you’ and smiling rather than arguing with them.
But two people said that they were proud of me yesterday morning and I enjoy that compliment more and somehow, I found it easier to accept. I am strangely delighted that I might have made someone proud, and yet pride is supposed to come before a fall and it is one of the 7 deadly sins too. My sister had posted on social media, on Purple Day, that she was proud of someone with epilepsy and I loved that, that Joshua made his Aunt proud of he copes with his seizures. So I thanked her and she told me that she was proud of me too, which was harder to take but still easier to accept than being told that I was amazing.
Perhaps pride in oneself is sinful and is certainly not the British way as we are raised to be modest about our achievements. I can recall being stunned by my Mum’s American friend when we were young who used to send mum letters detailing her daughters many talents, yet it seemed arrogant to us. But I do not think that being proud of others can possible be a bad thing, unless you start to boast about it perhaps. Joshua makes me proud every single day of his life, for the way that he breezes through life with a smile on his face, when he has faced so much pain over the years. I am proud of how friendly he is and although there is always a concern about ‘stranger danger’, I would be sad to see him stop waving at people he meets during the course of his day. I am proud that he is so affectionate, hugging the people that he cares about. I am proud of his cheeky sense of humour and at how it amuses him. I am proud of how well he tolerates his epilepsy helmet, his splints and big , clumpy boots without much complaint and at how little fuss he makes when facing seizures, lameness and surgery. In fact, Joshua is the amazing one, not me.
I think that all of my life I have striven to make my parents proud of me – that has been my goal, rather than to be amazing. And so when I hear that I have done something right or well, that I have made someone proud of me, that is my best reward.