As a veterinary technician, I work in a field that is heavily dominated by women. While there are a fair amount of fellas around and more are venturing our way every day, it is still mostly women. I think this is really great. Women have the amazing ability to be strong and fierce, while also somehow being loving and caring. In the clinic that I work in, the owner is a male veterinary surgeon. Our other surgeon on staff is a powerful and accomplished female, though she’d be damned if she’d let you recognize her for that. The rest of the staff with the exception of 1 man are all female technicians or assistants. Every single person that works in our clinic is great at what they do. We are a cohesive unit, a well-oiled machine. We get the job done and we do it well every single day. Our patients feel the love and confidence in our abilities. We get compliments regularly from our peers and clients about our exceptional care and service. We are over here just doing the dang thing!
I have found something very interesting about the way people receive compliments. When one of our clients gives us a hug and heartfelt thanks for being a clinic that their dog happily runs back to instead of runs away from, we give a sheepish thanks and some explanation of how it’s not that big of a deal. “Oh, thanks for saying that. We just try not to scare them, it’s nothing special.” But the truth of the matter is that it IS special. We work very hard to make our clinic this way. We have meeting after meeting about our patient care and what we can improve upon. We discuss how we will handle and treat our patients. We get a game plan together on how to handle our patients that bring more challenge than others. We have a clear mission that we all understand. We all want to make sure our patients and clients get through surgery feeling confident that they have the professionals by their side. We want to make sure our patients get all the way better. We all give a crap. We all believe in the mission and the animals. We all care. This did not just happen by itself. It takes every single person doing their part and working together to make these good experiences. Yet, when we get recognized for our accomplishments or high standards or any of that we shy away from it. We want to hide under a rock for fear of being recognized. Why is that?
In this world we are living in, we are still trying to reverse several years of belittling our accomplishments. Work hard, kick butt, but if you get recognized, be humble. Make sure you explain why you aren’t special. Explain that it’s just because you work on a good team. You’re not really that awesome. The worst part of this is that a lot of us actually feel that’s true. Even though we all worked hard to be where we are. We all have worked the late nights due to surgery running long or the dog pooping all over their kennel every 3.5 minutes or the patient that just needs a friend to sit with them so they can relax a little. We have all done our time, worked our butts off, and are worthy of these compliments we receive. We just need to learn to accept them.
I am not immune to this practice. For years I’ve watched the women (and sometimes men) around me deflect their compliments. Shy away from recognition and pretend that their accomplishments weren’t really worked for. Pretend that their achievements aren’t their own. They say they’re being humble, but it’s more than just that. We belittle ourselves not only to others but to ourselves. Think about that for a minute. Every time you say aloud that you don’t matter or you are not worthy, you say that to yourself. No wonder we start to believe it after a while. I always thought that by shying away from compliments, I’m proving that I’m not full of myself. I’m showing that I know that it’s not just me that matters and that the whole team does. While it’s true that the whole team matters, it’s me in this moment that’s being recognized. So, why can’t I just say thank you and move on? Years and years of learning that I can’t from observation of my mentors, my peers, and people I see on TV. It is hard to accept compliments and not try to deflect them or hide away from them. Little old me? NO WAY. I’m not that great.
But what if we could just accept them. What would that mean? Think of what acknowledging for two seconds that we did something that someone took the time to point out and congratulate us on. Think of what that would do for your self confidence. Think of what it would do for your feelings of worthiness in this world. Just that two seconds of simply accepting a compliment instead of trying to deflect it. How powerful would that be? When someone gives you a compliment they aren’t usually hoping that you’ll deflect it. They want to acknowledge you for something you’ve done or accomplished. They want to praise you for going that extra mile. They don’t want their compliment deflected or dismissed. So when you can accept a compliment, not only are you recognizing and acknowledging that you are worthy of such, but you’re also helping the person complimenting you accomplish what they’re after–helping you feel recognized and worthy. Take that in. Enjoy it. You deserve it and you are worth it.
So I challenge you CapedNerd Nation, to pay attention when you are recognized. Resist the temptation to deflect and dismiss. Accept that compliment and be grateful for it, not embarrassed by it. I think you’ll be surprised by the power it brings into your life.
Much love and complimentary vibes,
Momma Caped Nerd ❤
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