Mother’s Day and Dodgeball made me think about writing this blog post. First, a belated word on Mother’s Day: It was lovely. A day filled with sweet gestures and thanks. But in my typical self-effacing fashion, I spent much of it deflecting the appreciation:
Thanks for everything you do! Don’t worry about it. Your family is lucky to have you! It’s no problem. And from my son: Thank you for having me! What, only 5 hours of pushing when I couldn’t feel my legs? It’s no big deal.
I realize that my usual way of dealing with gratitude is a lot like the way my kid plays dodgeball. How so? My son, when he plays dodgeball, he absolutely loves to dodge. And that’s pretty much it. There’s no throwing and certainly no catching, just getting out of the way. And that’s exactly what I do with thanks: dodge at all costs. You thank me for helping you with a project? I’ll shimmy to the right! Praise me for a job well done? I’ll dive roll to the side! If you’re a patient and you thank me for caring, I’ll pull out a big move– maybe even do a super-jump flying split to avoid those kind words (I saw my son do that move during a game and it was impressive).
It feels immodest to accept praise. And I question if I really deserve it– part of me feels like I can always do better. But in all my dodging and deflection, I don’t allow myself validation– to realize the meaning of what I do, and genuinely feel good about it.
So I’m trying something new– I’m letting it land. Letting gratitude land. I’m moving away from my dodgeball strategy and allowing myself to be noticed, and opening up to appreciation. If you’re a dodger like me, this isn’t easy, but a simple “thank you” is a great place to begin.
Let me know if this works for you.
One thought on “Not-So-Secret Secret #43: Let It Land: Great For Gratitude (Not So Good For Dodgeball)”
This feels so familiar.
Alton Brown wrote an article on hospitality once. He described how we all think of it as offering, hosting, and giving.
He pointed out that hospitality also involves receiving. When we allow others to host and serve us, we complete the giving transaction and validate the relationship.
I have heard this idea applied to gratitude. By saying, “You’re welcome,” we acknowledge the gratitude and take the burden off of the other person to keep offering it. Imagine someone in your kitchen. You offer her a drink. She says no thanks I’m fine. A few minutes later you may feel obligated to ask again, in case she has become thirsty since she last declined. Maybe it’s the same way with gratitude. When we deflect, people may think we don’t understand how grateful they are. When we simply acknowledge the gratitude they offer, then we relieve them and everybody can move on happily.
So keep letting it all land, it’s good for everybody! 😊