Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Accepting a Compliment

Good afternoon, everyone.  What an absolutely gorgeous spring day it is!  Too nice to be inside, but unfortunately, I've taken off far too much lately, so here I am...seated at my desk.  Wasn't such a bad day though.  After a rather busy morning, the day settled down.  Then, we had a little training from a pharmaceutical company, and they always bring a nice lunch.  Today we had Mexican food, and it was great...the real thing.  You can always tell the difference in a fancy restaurant and those that we 'usually' order from. 

You know, I have come a long way from the person I used to be.  I really have.  I used to be a total wimp...the one who always hid in the corner and never had anything to say...the shy one...the one with the low self-esteem.  I was so beaten down that I felt that whatever I said was meaningless my mouth stayed shut.  But now, I sometimes surprise myself.  Never would I have imagined that I would one day be running my own group....ME, the one who never participated in group.  Always, when it came around to me, my favorite words were, "I'd rather listen".  Secretly, I had always wished that I was more like the others, so outspoken, unafraid to say what was on their mind.  

That's pretty much changed now, though.  I've grown a lot as a person since those days, and my self-esteem is so much higher...not sky high, but it's up there nonetheless.  However, there is one thing I have noticed. I still do not know how to accept a compliment.  Take today, for example.  When I walked into the room, the trainer complimented me on the skirt I was wearing.  My response?  "Thank you.  This skirt is so old.  I've had it for so many years."  Other times, I may say something like, "Thank you, but I think this skirt makes me look fat."  And this is something that happens ALL the time.  If someone tells me my hair looks nice, I have to go into a whole spiel about how much work I had to put into it.  Why can't a simple 'thank you' suffice?

I'm not alone in this, though...Surprisingly, it seems many people have trouble graciously accepting a compliment.  There seems to be something built into our mindset that tells us we cannot possibly deserve positive feedback.  And, as soon as someone gives us a compliment, our inner critic wakes up and goes to work...telling us that we are undeserving.  Why is it so hard to believe that someone has something nice to say to us?  

Someone once told me that I should start thinking of compliments as verbal gifts, something that comes from the heart...that I should try to put myself in the other person's place.  I should think about how I felt when I offered a heartfelt compliment to someone only to have them reply in a negative way?  It hurts, doesn't it?  Accepting compliments graciously is not a talent we are born with; it is something that we learn through practice. And the simplest way to accept a compliment is with a simple 'thank you'.  I'm learning.  Anything new takes time, but one day I know I will be there.  

How about you?  How do you accept compliments?  Can you simply say 'thank you?'


  1. i'm afraid i react much the same way you do :S.

  2. Yeah, why is it that it's so hard to just say Thank you, to a compliment? Did someone ever do a whole thesis on this topic I wonder? If not, someone should.

  3. Whenever I get a compliment I make a joke about myself. Sometimes a good one, sometimes a bad one.

  4. Another great post!

    OK, so I'm repeating myself.

    But, it's so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I'll take all the compliments I can get. There was a time in my life when all I ever got was complaints.X.

  6. It depends on what the person is complementing. I've gotten much better overall. But sometimes, I don't know what to do.

    How do you handle online compliments? You know, the ones you get about your blog? That might be something to start getting you more comfortable with them.

  7. I used to have issues with this but I have learned to be much better at accepting compliments.
    Part of this came from being a performer and accepting applause and attention from fans, and now as an author I have also had to get used to fans coming to book signings.
    I look at it, as you mentioned, as a gift from the heart. But it took a lot of years and practice to get to this point.
    There are probably a variety of reasons why certain people are more comfortable than others.
    For me, I was not raised in an atmosphere of praise but was criticized and put down, so it was not something I was ever used to and I had to learn to get used to it.
    We have to ask ourselves what it is we are attracting into our lives and why as well. Clearly I really wanted praise and compliments because I really worked to seek it out. So I may as well be gracious about it!

  8. How about a simple,"Why thank you!". It takes some practice, but you will get there.


  9. I had someone tell me once that it made them feel bad when I brushed off a compliment they gave me. That was my turning point. I still stumble, and sometimes make a joke about myself. But even if I feel uncomfortable, I still try and say "thank you" or "that was a really nice thing to say!" It's hard though!

  10. A simple "thank you" is almost always enough...