Advertising
Advertising

How to Take a Compliment

How to Take a Compliment
How to Take a Compliment

    A surprisingly large number of people do not know how to take a compliment. There’s something in our mind-set that says we cannot possibly deserve positive feedback and therefore anyone who pays us a compliment must be either lying, misguided, or feeling sorry for us. This is that little extra-critical voice in our heads, externalized and projected onto others; as if it weren’t enough that we undermine ourselves, we force others to undermine us too.

    Think of the good we might do ourselves by easily accepting every compliment that’s offered us, even if we’re not entirely sure the person complimenting us is totally earnest. Instead of undermining our self-confidence, we would feed it. Instead of denigrating our achievements, we would promote them. And instead of tearing down relationships, we would strengthen them. A compliment is, after all, a kind of gift, and turning down a gift insults the person giving it, suggesting that you don’t value them as highly as they value (soon to be “valued”) you.

    Advertising

    Alas, diminishing the impact of compliments is a pretty strong reflex for many of us. How can we undo what years of habitual practice has made almost unconscious? Here’s a list of some of the ways we sabotage compliments, followed by some pointers to help get you in the right mind-set to embrace the compliments you’re paid.

    Advertising

    Stop doing this:

    Advertising

    • Putting yourself down: One reaction to compliments is to say “I don’t deserve it” and list reasons why. Stop doing that.
    • Assuming the other person doesn’t really mean it: You may be right, sometimes, but it doesn’t matter. Responding as if they did disarms whatever ulterior motive they might have. On the other hand, acting as if they didn’t mean it when they did is insulting and makes you come off as either a jerk or a basket case. Stop doing it.
    • Pointing out your weaknesses: A compliment isn’t about your weaknesses, it’s about your strengths. There’s plenty of time to focus on improving faults later; for now, bask in the recognition of what doesn’t need fixing.
    • Deflecting compliments to others: We often respond to the embarrassment of being singled out for praise by deflecting it to others. Others may be deserving, but so are you.
    • Claiming it was all “luck”: Another way of deflecting embarrassing attention from yourself, with the added bonus of freeing you from responsibility for not only your successes but your failures.
    • Making them work for it: Cut the long stream of “no, it was nothings” and “I just did what I had to dos” and let people give you the compliment. Putting it off until they’ve given it three or four times, each time more insistently, is selfish.

    And start doing this instead:

    Advertising

    • Own your accomplishments: It wasn’t luck or the goodwill of others or any other reason that you managed to do something praiseworthy, it was your own effort and commitement. Even if you truly were just in the right place at the right time, you deserve credit for recognizing an opportunity and acting on it. If you wouldn’t dream of not taking responsibility for your failures, then step up and take responsibility for your achievements.
    • Be appreciative: As I said, a compliment is a gift. You wouldn’t put down or reject a gift from a friend; treat compliments the same way.
    • Be honest and optimistic about the future. Not pointing out your weaknesses doesn’t mean you can’t be honest about what lays ahead. But a simple “We still have to do x, y, and z but it’s good to see we’re on the right track” will suffice. Don’t make someone waste their effort paying a compliment by telling them how the thing they’re praising is probably doomed to fail in the long run.
    • Recognize your contribution. You may not be the only one who deserves to be complimented on a job well-done, and it’s fine to say so, but remember that you’re a part of your group’s success, too. Don’t say “Well, Hassan and LaShawna deserve all the credit”; instead say “Thanks, I’m sure Hassan and LaShawna will appreciate hearing that, too.”
    • Follow up. If applicable, offer to involve the person giving you a compliment in your success. “Thanks, Maria. I wonder if you’d like to help us out by offering some feedback on…”
    • Be gracious. Giving a compliment isn’t always easy. When someone does offer you one, accept it easily and gracefully. Pay one back, if merited. Let people know that you appreciate themfor appreciating you.

    You don’t have to be a cocky, arrogant, son-of-a-you-know-what to take a compliment well (but it helps — kidding!) just a reasonably well-balanced, self-assured person. The good news is that mastering the art of receiving compliments helps make you into a more well-balanced, self-assured person — which, in turn, will earn you more compliments. Let the warm fuzzies begin!

    Special Bonus Tip: Something nice that someone says about you is a “compliment”; something that goes nicely with something else “complements” it. A compliment makes you feel good, as in “I feel good now.”

    More by this author

    The Science of Setting Goals (And Its Effect on Your Brain) Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide) The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) How to Admit Your Mistakes How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

    Trending in Communication

    1 10 Ways To Always Be Yourself And Live Happily 2 What Is Self-Actualization? 13 Traits of Self-Actualized People 3 12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner 4 20 Small Habits That Will Help You Become Mentally Strong 5 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Quick Ways to Get Back on Track

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on February 17, 2020

    10 Ways To Always Be Yourself And Live Happily

    10 Ways To Always Be Yourself And Live Happily

    As you were probably told when you were in elementary school, “Just be yourself.” You can be a much happier person once you figure out who you truly are and when you learn how to be yourself.

    If you are like most people, then you have probably told yourself that things would be better if there were certain changes in your life or changes to yourself. You can make those positive changes yourself. Be proactive, and have a more positive outlook about yourself.

    Below are 10 ways to learn how to be yourself and live more happily:

    1. Don’t Aim to Please Others

    There is a problem if you are never doing what you want to do, yet always doing what everyone else wants to do. This Is Why You Shouldn’t Please Others But Yourself.

    Advertising

    Pleasing others can be a nice thing to do, but know where your boundaries are. Instead of always aiming to please others, you should do things for yourself as well every now and then.

    2. Don’t Worry About How Others View You

    Occasionally thinking about how others view you may make you change for the good, but you should not be constantly wondering about what others are thinking. You should change if you want to, and change into what or who you want to change into.

    3. Learn More About Yourself

    Do you know who you really are? Ever since you were young, you have been conditioned to be one way or another. It may be weird just to spend a day being your spontaneous self, but sometimes it is the only way that you can learn how to be yourself.

    4. Appreciate Who You Are

    No matter how weird you are, appreciate yourself! Each person is unique, and everyone has at least a little weirdness in themselves. Appreciate your weirdness and let it out.

    Advertising

    5. Be Confident with Who You Are

    Do you ever doubt yourself? Doubting yourself can be very easy if you are constantly comparing yourself to others and wondering “What if?”

    Instead of doubting yourself all the time, you should be confident with yourself and who you are. Showing confidence in yourself and your decisions will also show to others that you know what you are doing.

    6. Forgive Yourself

    Forgive yourself for thinking negatively. Forgive yourself for talking, without thinking twice. Forgive yourself for being rude to your superiors, your friends, your parents, or your siblings.

    Don’t think negative thoughts about yourself for taking wrong steps or making wrong decisions. This kind of thinking puts your focus on the problem and not the solution. It’s better to say good things about yourself than to say negative things. Always saying positive things about yourself is a sign that you have forgiven yourself.

    Advertising

    These tips will be helpful for you: How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward for a Happier Life

    7. Stop Being Negative About Yourself

    Do you look at everything as a glass half full or a glass half empty? It can be easy to be negative about yourself. When it comes to being happy, it is vital that you learn how to be yourself and to be more positive.

    8. Find a Hobby That You Love

    Everyone has something that they live for or that they love to do. Figure out what you love to do and make a hobby out of it. Doing what you love can make you much happier.

    9. Learn from Your Mistakes

    You can really learn more about yourself when you make a mistake. Here is Why You Should Be Proud of Making Mistakes.

    Advertising

    Mistakes in your life do not always need to be seen negatively. Think about what went wrong, learn from it, and move on.

    10. Strive for What You Want to Accomplish

    Being yourself does not have to mean that you have to be stuck in status quote. Aim for what you want to achieve and strive for that accomplishment. You can improve yourself while still remaining true to yourself.

    More Tips About Staying True to Yourself

    Featured photo credit: Adrien King via unsplash.com

    Read Next