For some of us, accepting compliments is difficult. Whether it’s because the compliment doesn’t feel earned or compliments are just uncomfortable, learning to accept them is an important life skill. Perhaps a new perspective can offer a new approach to compliments.
Why would we need to learn to accept compliments? The most practical answer is so compliments don’t derail our train of thought and discombobulate us. The more feely answer is, compliments are gifts from others, and it’s rude to refuse a gift.
Compliments are gifts of others perspectives given to us. We don’t have to agree with them and we don’t have to own them, but what we do need to understand is that the act of giving the compliment was important to the giver. At the very least we should appreciate the act of kindness.
How do we say to a compliment? A simple “Thank you” works just fine and can be tuned for the situation. “Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to say that.” “Thank you, I’ve never thought about it that way.”
It’s not as important to respond to the compliment as it is to respond to and appreciate the person that gave it. However, when accepting compliments becomes more natural assessing the compliments you receive can help draw a picture of how people perceive us.
As an example, I was complimented on always having a smile. It took me off guard because I didn’t feel like I smiled all that often and that it was something I should work on. All of a sudden I didn’t feel like I was doing such a poor job of smiling.
A compliment that contradicts our accepted perspective is an invitation to look at ourselves in a new light. Sometimes that can be uncomfortable, but it’s an opportunity to learn more about ourselves. It’s useful to look at a compliment to see what we can use from it. For me, I no longer felt nervous about not smiling enough.
Accepting compliments can be difficult because we’re not used to giving compliments. Working on giving compliments can help us learn to relate to those that give compliments. It doesn’t have to have a deep meaning. It can be as simple as pointing out something we like such as their hair or something they’re wearing. The best way to understand people who give compliments is to try it ourselves.
We’ve covered a lot here on why and how we should accept compliments, including that it’s rude to reject gifts, even unwanted gifts. All we need is a simple “thank you”, which we can dress up if needed. At the end of the day, we can look back at the compliments we’ve received to see what we can use or learn from them. Hopefully, this has offered some new ways to approach and handle compliments.
I’m happy to work on how to accept and use compliments. Be sure to schedule a free exploratory session with me to see what we can accomplish together.