Standing there with nothing but ourselves, the exercise was to give the other a gift.

Some gave a shoulder massage, a hug, or a compliment. The person I had been paired with got down on his hands and knees and kissed the top of my shoe.

He did it with humor... yet meant it. He knew that I had trouble taking compliments, any compliments, and speaking to him later, I realized that he knew that I might have a reaction, a learning.

Here was a man I admired. A man I was trying to emulate. A man who would give you the shirt of his back, if you needed it. Being like him, acting like him was my goal. In my mind, he was on a pedestal I knew I could reach if I only put in a consistent 120 percent.

I smiled. I thanked him for the gift... then my mind started to work.

I woke up the next day, irritable, confused. I struggled through the day. I felt emotional about stupid things. I didn't understand what was happening to me. I spoke with a friend that had been there. She skillfully asked me all the right questions to lead me to the truth...

I DID NOT FEEL WORTHY OF SUCH AN EXTREME COMPLIMENT! How could I receive a compliment that humbled my hero? Why would he do that for/to me? I simply could not accept the compliment and yet given, it could not be returned. I struggled with the magnitude and sincerity of the gift. To this day, I don't fully accept it. I just can't.

Ultimately, his gift to me was this: His compliment was so huge, so overwhelming, that when someone gives me a small compliment, it no longer looks so big, and I can graciously accept it and go on my way.

I've been pushed over the cliff, and survived. Walking down the stairs doesn't scare me anymore.