You would think accepting a compliment would be simple, right?
All you have to do is smile graciously and genuinely say thank you.
Over the last year I’ve paid close attention to the awkwardness around giving and accepting compliments and it turns out females especially struggle accepting praise.
You’re probably not surprised and to be honest, neither was I.
I believe there’s something in our mindset that prevents us from believing we deserve positive feedback and if anyone dares to pay us a compliment they must be lying, clueless or just trying to make us feel good.
Does this sound familiar?
Living abroad I’m constantly meeting and socialising with new people, which often takes a lot of courage and confidence.
When you’re spending time with people you don’t know very well, it’s not uncommon to praise your lunch date’s outfit or new hairstyle so you can form a closer bond (and sometimes compliments are handy to throw out there when you’re struggling for things to say!).
I’ve also found myself on the receiving end of many compliments but instead of being grateful for these generous words (which are true gifts) I always seem to down play them or deflect.
I went to coffee with a group of friends and they all commented on how nice my shoes were.
My ridiculous response “Thanks, but I don’t really like them. They aren’t made very well. Plus they are too sparkly.”
Here’s another example – a friend made a remark that it was great that I got to write for the Huffington Post.
My response – “It’s pretty cool but I was lucky that Arianna Huffington responded to my comment on instagram.”
And finally another example – A friend and coaching colleague emailed me and said that she got so much out of our coaching session and she thinks I’m a fantastic coach.
My pathetic response – “It was all you Gorgeous. I didn’t do a great deal.”
On the flipside, I regularly compliment and praise my clients on the awesome progress they’re making in their coaching series.
And do you know what?
I don’t think I’ve had a single client whole-heartedly accept their compliment straightaway.
The standard responses are to deflect, downplay or say it was luck!
As women, we all do this on a regular basis and it’s rubbish!
Our lack of ability to accept a compliment stems from that ultra critical voice or our inner mean girl that thrives on undermining our achievements, our appearance and our big goals and beautiful dreams.
Instead of undermining your self-confidence and downplaying a compliment, wouldn’t it be more fruitful to accept every kind word you receive and feed your confidence.
Instead of downplaying your achievements promote them.
And instead of creating awkwardness within your relationships, strengthen them by graciously accepting a compliment.
Now I know that deflecting a compliment is a built-in reflex for most of us, but the good news is there are a number of ways you can embrace the compliments you receive and cultivate killer self-confidence.
Instead of believing that you don’t deserve praise and listing out all the reasons why, simply say “Thank You” and own your awesomeness!
As I mentioned before, a compliment is a gift and you wouldn’t reject a gift from a friend and insult them. So be appreciative, soak up the good intentions behind the praise and be grateful.
Receiving a compliment can make you feel embarrassed or awkward and a surefire response is to deflect the attention to others. Your friend may comment that she loves your earrings and you instantly reply “Oh I love yours too. They are so much nicer than mine!” Don’t forget that YOU are deserving of praise!
It wasn’t just luck that eventuated in you doing something fantastic. You put in the effort, committed, recognised opportunities and you stepped up. Take responsibility for your achievements, stop selling yourself short and revel in the praise (and watch your self-confidence soar!).
Have you ever responded to a compliment with a string of ‘Oh, I just did what I had to’ or ‘Honestly, it was nothing’? Stop making it difficult for someone to praise you and instead be gracious and simply say ‘Thank You.’ Let them know that you genuinely appreciate them for appreciating you!
I want you to know that accepting a compliment doesn’t mean you’re arrogant or cocky.
The truth is, learning how to accept (and enjoy) a compliment helps to make you a more self-assured and self-confident person and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Do you often down play or deflect compliments?
If you’re keen to share, I’d love to hear your most ridiculous attempt of accepting a compliment in the comment section below. We can have a giggle together!
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