Harder than giving thanks, in my experience.
Part of the holiday season is saying thank you to those around you, and if you are religious then usually also in giving thanks in a more spiritual sense. We generally thank everyone who gives us a present, or a card, or even just good wishes for the Holidays. When I was a child I was even encouraged (read: not allowed to play with my presents until I had done so) to send personalized thank-you notes to all the gift-givers near and far. At this time of year saying thank you is easy, and practically automatic. It’s nearly a routine, just this side of losing all meaning beyond the social convention. However, that’s a post for another day.
For every person saying “thank you” for something, there is another person accepting the thanks of someone. (Obviously.) This is the hard one for me, especially when it is for intangibles, such as my services as a beta-reader or a kind comment, or stepping into the breach to complete a stressful task when no one else was available. I’m not sure why I have such difficulty with graceful acceptance. I am always pleased by thanks, but I usually feel slightly awkward beneath it, perhaps even a little shy. The feeling is very similar to the one I get whenever I receive a compliment, actually. Perhaps that is the explanation. It is all part of the insecurity which fuels everything from Impostor Syndrome to feelings of unattractiveness.
Insecurity is a particularly difficult malady because often the abilities and qualities we doubt are the very ones that others admire in us. Naturally this makes our concerns seem ridiculous to our listeners should we happen to voice them, and perhaps even seem a bit like we are merely fishing for compliments. Fortunately, insecurity can be overcome by a combination of positive reinforcement, will power, and a certain amount of acting ability.
So never fear. If you happen to thank me for something, I will do my best at pretending to accept it gracefully and with dignity, rather with the bizarre mixture of pleasure and discomfort that I’m actually feeling. They say if you pretend to feel something for long enough, you start to actually do so. Who knows. It could happen.
Currently Reading: Changeless by Gail Carriger