I never really learned to take a compliment. In fact, it makes me super uncomfortable.
And I have become the queen of deflection – often downplaying or diminishing my positive qualities and achievements and never really taking them in and allowing myself to feel and receive love, appreciation or gratitude from others.
It’s not an ideal way to go through life – this self-limiting approach to love and support – especially as I receive so many gracious, kind and heartfelt emails every day.
It was one of these very thoughtful, gracious emails that prompted me to look at this issue. Karen took the time to share “I would like to personally send you a big thank you for being YOU when you share your information. It is so heart warmingly received by me. No matter how bad my day seems to be I know I can open one of your emails and truly know there is hope and better things to come I just have to stay present. Thank you for keeping it real.”
I shared the message with my boyfriend who echoed the kind sentiment and I immediately started deflecting and downplaying which he pointed out to me in a very kind and thoughtful way. He thoughtfully shared his observation on how I deflect love and praise, noting that when someone compliments me or acknowledges an achievement, I downplay or diminish it, even when it is true and merited.
Deflection is a common psychological defense mechanism used to evade difficult conversations or uncomfortable situations. It is often used to redirect negative focus, blame, or criticism away from yourself to help you avoid uncomfortable feelings, which in my case seem to include praise, gratitude and love.
Deflection strategies can include anything that redirects the conversation away from the uncomfortable topic – like compliments – to something less emotionally charged. It can also be used to redirect other uncomfortable topics or issues that might involve feelings of shame or guilt. Some common deflection strategies include:
- Changing the subject
- Asking a question (that takes the conversation in a different direction)
- Making a joke
- Diminishing the compliment (as I often do by claiming “oh it was nothing”
- Passing off the credit by claiming I couldn’t have done it without other people (which is true – my team is AMAZING!)
- Playing compliment ping-pong and praising the praiser
- Downplaying, criticizing or diminishing myself (that voice in my head that I am always mindfully resetting)
Why You Deflect Praise?
I always try to understand why I am defaulting to a behavior to help unpack and change the behavior.
In trying to understand why I deflect compliments and praise, the obvious starting point was negative self-image and low self-esteem. I definitely have a strong inner critic and struggle with perfectionist tendencies like not feeling “good enough” or worthy of kind words and actions.
I have also noticed that unexpected compliments and “positive surprises” seem to trigger my fight, flight, freeze response in the same way as unexpected danger or “negative surprises”. In other words, both positive and negative surprises can be intense emotional experiences that can feel uncomfortable and destabilizing, triggering your fight, flight or freeze response. In other words, an unexpected compliment may make you feel unsafe and you may want to shut it down so you can restore your sense of predictability and safety.
Deflecting praise may be an unconscious act of self-protection that allows you to regain control in what feels like an emotionally vulnerable situation.
Essential Oils for Receiving Praise
Essential oils can be used to help calm the surprise and resulting fight, flight freeze response from unexpected positive surprises, like kind words and actions. Essential oils can also be used to support the tissues around the heart and the emotional heart to receive the love and the praise.
In other words, essential oils can help you thaw your unconscious self-protection mechanisms that are interfering with your ability to receive love, support, praise and positive connection.
Essential oils are living energy with electrical properties, which are both subject to our thoughts and feelings and able to positively impact your thoughts and feelings so that you may take in the kind words and gratitude of others.
Their vibrations resonate with your organ tissues, like the heart, and regions of the brain in helpful ways, according to your wishes and mental directions. They also work in the limbic systems to help clear negative feelings and blocked emotions, thus eliminating the root causes of many self-limiting beliefs.
In his book “The Power of Prayer on Plants”, Researcher Franklin Loehr discovered that thoughts change the physical properties of the water by altering the bonding angles between oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Like water and plants, research shows that essential oils also respond to words, thoughts, and prayer and even amplify intent to move molecules of oils to where they can best serve to heal the body. Just as your thoughts can amplify the effectiveness of the oils, essential oils can be used to amplify your intent on many levels, including the intent to receive more love or allow yourself to experience the positive feelings associated with praise and gratitude, both for yourself and others.
Parasympathetic™ to thaw the Freeze Response
Parasympathetic™ is critical in recovering from a Freeze Response. It calms the nervous system and helps us be present to the moment, to both your own body and to others.
As you may know, the freeze response can trigger a disassociation so that you don’t feel pain, which includes a disconnection to your sense of smell. Smelling essential oils, like Parasympathetic™, can help thaw the freeze response and restore your ability to sense your environment and feel safe in it. This sense of embodiment and safety may help allow you to better receive praise and love. Apply Parasympathetic™ over the vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone) to activate the vagus nerve. This helps discharge energy and shift out of the freeze state into the healing parasympathetic.
Fascia Release™ to support the tissues around the heart
The issues are in the tissues, and before you can begin to unpack your blocked or stuck heart energy, you need to open up the space around your physical heart with the Fascia Release™ blend.
When you experience surprise or engage your freeze response, part of you is resistance, which triggers you to physically contract, constrict, or pull away from a physical danger, a negative thought or an emotional aversion. In the process, you constrict and physically guard your heart in preparation for attack. When you do this, you internalize the fear without release or recovery. In short, energy doesn’t flow and your body constricts – which locks the stress in your body.
Topically applying Fascia Release™ over the physical heart – with focused application and both above on the clavicle bones in sweeping outward motions and in a gentle vertical caress from your throat and the sides of your neck down over and below the heart – opens the space to allow energy and emotions to flow down and out of your system. You can also apply over the back of your heart.
Heart™ to receive the love and the praise
Heart™ balances the heart to enhance compassion and support, integrate and reset all the systems of the body, including supporting feelings of receptivity to love and praise.
Your heart integrates and balances your physical, emotional, and mental bodies, providing blood to every cell and every organ. It also serves as a complex information processing center, influencing brain function, the nervous system, hormonal system and most of the body’s major organs. When any part of your body isn’t functioning at an optimal level, your heart has to work harder. For example, when your body is in a state of stress, it needs more oxygen which increases your heart rate. Your heart is our body’s reset button, but a state of constant stress can fatigue the heart and compromise our ability to reset, leading to inflammation, infections, toxicity and heart disease.
By returning your heart to balance, you support the cardiovascular and circulatory system; regenerate the structure of your heart and help reset the homeostatic mechanism for your entire body. Heart™ is formulated with powerful calming oils, including Jasmine, an oil found to be as calming as the anti-anxiety drug valium, according to a 2010 study. Jasmine also has a mildly sedative and calming effect allowing it to alleviate anxious thoughts, relieve stress and ease depression. Jasmine oil actually stimulates the brain, helping to uplift the mood, and promoting feelings of self-confidence and optimism.
Apply Heart™ over your heart (left side of chest) to balance the heart and support, integrate and reset all the systems of the body, including mental clarity, physical health and emotional balance. Heart™ blend also supports feelings of open-heartedness, expansiveness, receptivity while mitigating loneliness, sadness and grief.
As you take a deep breath and breathe in Heart™, try to breathe in the deep sense of worthiness and allow yourself to receive love and praise. As you slowly exhale, allow your breath to carry out any patterns of low self-worth or self-limiting beliefs.
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