As the mother of a 2 and a 4 year-old, I am constantly flattered at home. If you believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then little kids are the bomb. Just make one slip-up. Try it. You let the word "duh" escape your lips and you get to hear it over and over and over and over for a month. You accidentally say a bad word and look out. You will be explaining why we don't say that for weeks.
With all of that flattery happening at home, you would think I would be used to it, but I suppose that I'm not. I have recently been astounded to discover that I have really good ideas. It turns out that they are occasionally so good that other people want to imitate them.
I've walked into two meetings lately to find someone else using my ideas in their areas. I'm not a big credit hog and I didn't get credit, but it was nice to see my ideas working in other areas. Maybe I really do know what I'm doing sometimes.
I recently ran into a colleague who had gone out and bought a shirt she had seen me wear one day. I can't deny that it looked better on her, but I got a little thrill from being so cool as to be copied (and improved upon).
And I am still always surprised to discover that someone who has an intense dislike for me is still competing with me to be me. Quite a while ago, I told this person that I found working in the ER more exciting than their preferred hobby. It seems that this person quit their preferred hobby and got some training to work in the ER and then applied to work in the ER where I work. They seemed quite good at their hobby, so I'm not sure why, but they have competed with me in a number of areas, trying to prove to all sorts of people that they are "the better" whatever than I am for so long, I'm not surprised.
I always love to be copied. There is inherent validation in it. And it's a little fun when someone makes it competitive. I don't have to compete to be me, so I always win. I get to just be me. And I pretty much love being me. And I do feel flattered. Whether someone is trying to inhabit my home, my attire, my dreams, or my work ideas, it feels validating. I feel like someone looked at me and thought, "I want to be like that" even in some small way.
As a result, I find myself trying to let people know when I am flattering them. I have recently noticed that I say "I totally borrowed your idea" and awful lot. I hope it makes everyone else feel good. Because I have to admit, it makes me feel good. Even hearing my own "duh" over and over and over sometimes makes me smile.