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The Shortest Lesson I Teach

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

I sometimes lead in to teaching on ‘How to Receive a Compliment’ by saying that it’s the shortest lesson that I teach. That’s because all that a person needs in responding to hearing praise are two simple words - “Thank you.” However, it’s often difficult for people to accept adulation for at least two reasons. First, and unfortunately, many people are more accustomed to hearing destructive criticism than positive feedback. Second, it is natural for a person to want to clarify and justify any perceived shortcomings in herself or himself – why something was not A+, 100%, and so forth, and basically – perfect. In this way, the principle consists of two words and not the three of “Thank you but…”. As artists we can be extremely self-critical and hard on ourselves. We can almost always (quickly) point out how we could have done things better. However, we need to practice resisting this urge. It's important to find our worth in who we are and not what we do or create.  It's also important to do our best and to be able to leave it at.  The maturity of a person, and an artist, includes developing the skill of receiving a compliment with the two words above, and not three or more.

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