Have you ever noticed the difference between accepting a compliment versus giving one? Typically, when we give compliments to others, we mean them. However, when we receive a compliment, we are quick to minimize it or quick to question whether the praise is valid. For example, we might provide a backstory or mention that we received our shirt on sale if someone compliments us. Why can’t we just smile and say thank you? Maybe it is because we do not believe the compliment about ourselves. Sometimes compliments can make us feel seen or exposed; we do not always want this. We may be inclined to downplay our accomplishments because we do not think we are worthy of admiration. Remember that it is acceptable to want external validation, as long as it is not the only source. Furthermore, we must be willing to sit through the discomfort of accepting a compliment. Next time someone compliments you, try these steps:
- See if you can hold the discomfort for three seconds. This might mean acknowledging you are uncomfortable and not attempting to change the feeling.
- Take your time to notice if you feel any discomfort in your body. Let it move through you.
- Accept the compliment by simply saying thank you.
- Try to feel compassion for yourself and do not immediately question the motivations of the person complimenting you. Believe it!
It is important to note that not everyone receives compliments the same way, nor does everyone feel discomfort the same way. Above all, you are worthy of the kind words being said to you. Think about the following: What needs to happen for you to accept a compliment and let it nurture you, rather than embarrass you?
If you would like to speak to a professional counselor about topics, such as the one featured in this blog, and are in the Chicago area, please contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written by Liz, Mental Health Counseling Master’s Level Intern
Brickel, R. E., MA. (2020, March 30). The importance of accepting compliments. PsychAlive.