I think I’m pretty good at what I do, and sometimes I’ll even say this to people. But sometimes the intensity of someone’s gratitude catches me off guard.
A while back I had a client — patient — in a medical facility. A person facing a chronic, critical illness where treatment caused debilitating side effects, up to and including time spent in hospitals. I was one of several appointments she had that day. She struck me as a practical woman — plain-spoken, realistic and unsentimental about her troubles. And out of the blue she said:
“The treatment is worth it for this massage.”
A compliment so intense it almost paralyzed me. How could my little massage justify such discomfort?
I know hyperbole when I hear it. I know what she said was not strictly, literally true. I also know that the truth in it had enough gratitude in it (from her, to me) to make me question whether I deserved it. But who am I, in the midst of all her setbacks, to offer her another setback by questioning her experience? Better, I think, to try my best to gracefully, gratefully, accept her compliment.