Compliments and Me

Why is it so hard to accept, really accept a compliment?

You would think that accepting a compliment from someone would be easy, something nice said to you or about you, but do we really stop to allow ourselves to feel what is being shared with us about ourselves?

This is something I have been recently observing in myself. Someone offers me a compliment, and I quickly say thank you, brushing it off like it was said in jest, a fleeting moment, or simply to be polite, or better (worse!) yet I go into an explanation of why I may look good, or why my hair is incredibly amazing on that day.

Recently I have brought more attention to how I respond when someone pays me a compliment, why I am so quick to discard it and how it makes me feel. At times it makes me feel a little awkward, uncomfortable, almost as if I am not deserving of that level of attention from another.

What I am beginning to realise though is, it is not the compliments I am resisting but the fact that I do not actually stop to allow myself to feel that I am all that which another sees in me and more.

I do not appreciate or acknowledge myself, who I am and the way I am, and when a compliment is said I feel uncomfortable because it is something that I myself have not actually yet recognised within myself and accepted as a quality or a strength.

So I have been playing a little ‘game’ with myself. When someone offers me a compliment I stop, don’t speak, I just let myself feel what is being shared and appreciate the quality that another has seen, that I may not have allowed myself to see. I say, ‘Thank you’, allowing my body to feel what has been said.

Yes, there are times when I have recognised that I am feeling amazing and when another comments on that, it is felt and appreciated by me, – but if it is something that I have not yet allowed myself to feel I go into a mini story, brushing it off, going into a detailed scenario, a justification of why I deserve the compliment rather than simply accepting it and so on… in fact, the ‘mini story’ is anything really to prevent me from feeling that someone else noticed something ‘I’ chose to ignore.

So compliments have now become my friend, a way for me to stop and recognise when I have or have not taken stock of the amazingness for myself, and that it is not only great to have another see me for who I am, but also for me to truly see and accept myself for who I am, which is the ultimate compliment of all!

By Nicole Serafin, age 43, Tintenbar, Australia

Related Reading:
~ True Appreciation… From Abuse to my Amazing Life
~ Self-Acceptance and Appreciation Bring True Presence
~ The Truth of Simple Acceptance of Self

1,886 thoughts on “Compliments and Me

  1. As a child being me in full and walking confident feeling really beautiful triggered some reactions, like jealousy, comments that made me doubt about myself, unloving gazes…so I decided to keep my beauty in a box in order to not be seen and hurt anymore. In that time compliments were really uncomfortable, something that I thought I didn’t deserve or I had to avoid by justifying myself.
    Thankfully I came across Universal Medicine one day. By receiving regular Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions and with the loving support from my practitioner I could heal what hurt me in the past and prevented me to express just as I am. By reconnecting with my body I can see and feel my true value as a woman, the stillness and infinite tenderness that lies within. It has nothing to do with the outside but in me, whether if others approve me or not. It’s this beauty that I once knew as a girl and now I playfully celebrate and appreciate every day.

  2. Occasionally I receive compliments where I can feel they are laced with comparison and jealousy. I wasn’t aware of this so much before but now I can feel this very clearly whenever it happens and I have learnt to not take it personally. It is a great to observe and understand why someone may feel this way towards me. But when a compliment is free of comparison and jealousy, it feels very confirming.

    1. I can relate very much about this Chanly. This week a friend told me how beautiful I look like from some time to now. But what I felt was jealousy in her words. Some years ago I would react, keeping myself small, bringing some kind of justification to make her more comfortable…But was great was just reading the situation and staying connected with my body. Nothing could touch me in that moment.

  3. Beautiful, I wonder how we can deny that beauty given by a compliment (if so) and or to ourselves when we do feel beautiful. Like how is it even possible that we can deny such truth and beauty that we can see in another and at times in ourselves too?

  4. It has taken years for me to accept a compliment and then the other day in the swimming pool showers I started a conversation with a guy about fitness, and he complimented me for not being overweight. At first, a quick thought came in to want to look for something to say ‘yes, but’ and then I stopped myself and accepted the compliment. His face beamed and it was as if by accepting it he also had been complimented. Awesome moment.

  5. A compliment offered with love and care will only truly resonate with us if we are loving and caring with ourselves.

  6. “the ‘mini story’ is anything really to prevent me from feeling that someone else noticed something ‘I’ chose to ignore.” This is a great point you make here Nicole that it is our choice to see or not see our innate qualities, why would we choose to not see the beauty of the qualities we all hold?

  7. Compliments need to be discerned, where as appreciation is felt throughout the body and offers an expansion. Whether we allow ourselves to feel this is always ours to choose.

    1. I agree Alison, this is a great point, ‘Compliments need to be discerned..’ because sometimes compliments can be laced with comparison and jealousy which feels more like an attack than a compliment and what can be confusing is that the words can sound complimenting but the energy behind it does not.

  8. Appreciation for oneself by oneself and the expression of that supports a more loving relationship and a stronger foundation.

  9. The more we allow the love of another in the more we are able to receive compliments. Of course we cannot allow the love of another in if we do not love ourselves first.

  10. I can certainly relate to the ‘mini story’ explanations of why I may deserve a certain compliment, Nicole. But what you presented here helped me to see how these stories were covering up just how much I had not accepted the compliment as a quality that is natural to me and never really stopped to appreciate it myself. We can really help each other and build our level of self-love through accepting compliments and giving them without hesitation when they are felt from our body.

  11. Compliments, like everything else need to be discerned for whether they are true or not through listening to the body.

    1. It is amazing what our body can register and communicate to us. Also, I find listening to my body is very, very supportive on so many levels.

    2. I agree and through listening to our body we can sense deeper if there is an unease in us because we are resisting accepting or letting in a true expression of love or if the compliment is coming with another energy.

  12. Truly receiving a compliment that is genuine is like a celebration, something that is recognised and appreciated as a true value is a small party in itself and then continue to do whatever is needed in an expanded version of yourself.

  13. I just received some amazing feedback with service I gave at work. The email first was from the customer to my manager Ccing me. The email seriously amazed me how they described my service to a T. My manager responded just as beautifully and went bigger including many higher, equal and lower in the hierarchy of the business nationally and across the world since it is a global company. It was remarkable how they all replied!
    What I found amazing was they all responded in the same tone that the customer presented the feedback in. This was a confirmation what I already know I do bring and appreciate but, when another appreciates it is another whole other level where they now have that same service that I originally offered in them. This shows me just how power-full appreciation is. Without appreciation there is no foundation for you or others to connect to.

  14. I also noticed that when we don’t accept a compliment, it also rejects the expression of another who has noticed something in you which has inspired them, when we knock back or dismiss a compliment, we are also dismissing the person.

  15. Allowing yourself to truly embrace a compliment is a beautiful reflection, and is not about you , but about celebrating the joy of appreciation in us all.

  16. “I feel uncomfortable because it is something that I myself have not actually yet recognised within myself and accepted as a quality or a strength.” We really need to work on ourselves rather than focus on anyone else, because we miss out on so much when we don’t!

  17. It is common for people to shy away from compliments, and it is not surprising judging by the way we were brought up. We were never taught to appreciate ourselves for just being us nor did we receive confirmation of how glorious we are. One of the greatest things we can do for humanity is to practise true appreciation.

  18. Many of us have been brought up with the ‘Don’t brag’ approach but we take it to the extreme opposite, constantly attacking ourselves with a barrage of negative self talk that is so ingrained we have no idea of the harm we are doing to ourselves, we are not even aware what we are doing. Constantly putting ourselves down, assuming that everything we do is wrong, and it’s all carefully and deliberately designed to keep us down, keep us feeling small. It’s as if we are afraid to express our full power, maybe having been tortured in a past lifetime, we torture ourselves in this one because it feels so familiar. So we can choose to stop. Choose to fully appreciate ourselves in every moment of the day, no need to please anybody or be afraid of any reaction or jealousy, just feel it and carry on – we are amazing beings and it’s time we appreciated that fact and started to live it.

  19. Most of us exist with a non stop barrage of self criticism going on in the background. The silent voice in our heads that always finds fault with everything we are and do. A compliment clashes head on with this voice in our heads, so we play it down and disregard it. What if we constantly were complimenting ourselves, silently of course! Why not build ourselves rather than pull ourselves down?

  20. When we really accept a compliment, we allow ourselves to receive it we honour ourselves and the other person equally. It is a very lovely feeling.

  21. Personally, my biggest barrier to accepting a compliment is that I instantly feel there is an imbalance to the affection shared, that I have not given therefore I should not receive. So when a compliment comes out of the blue and I feel unprepared for it and it can send me in to a spin. But really this is very controlling and discounts the bigger picture. As people we all love to express ourselves, in whatever form or capacity that may take, and sometimes this will include sharing the love you have for another, and as I have come to understand, this may not always be in words, sometimes it can be in the simplest gesture.

  22. The great thing is that no one can tell you you are amazing if you have not already claimed and appreciated it yourself – because you just won’t believe it. I’ve definitely gone through a period of not being or feeling amazing, and this morning someone said to me “you’re amazing” and I was like – “what?!” because the words didn’t match how I felt inside, whereas there have been other times people have told me I’m amazing and I’ve been like “Yeh – thank you – that’s true.” How we respond to other people’s appreciation or compliments is an excellent marker of where we are at with our relationship with ourselves.

  23. It is a great reflection to observe whether we react or respond to compliments depends on the depth we are willing to be loving and tender with ourselves and how much we appreciate all that we are.

  24. I notice this with a lot of women, that we are very quick to dismiss compliments from others and instead dismiss or reduce them. It is like we can not handle or appreciate ourselves fully. When someone half does it, it can feel put on but when someone fully appreciates themselves it is deeply inspiring.

    1. I agree – someone who fully appreciates and cherishes and adores themselves is incredibly inspiring – it’s very powerful because it innately offers others the possibility to appreciate and adore themselves too.

  25. It is very beautiful when we pay a compliment to another and they stop a little hazed to feel it. No justification but a simple ‘thank you’ is their response. It really does have an impact on another when we allow ourselves to express a genuine appreciation towards another – something shifts and an openess and space is created.

  26. Although the problem of not letting in a compliment may be to the fore, it is worth to discern any compliment before making a choice to ‘receive’ it or not as like everything else it comes with an energetic quality that may either be a true confirmation or it may be poisoned by the other person’s unresolved comparison issue.

    1. I found myself recently complimenting another but it felt horrible in my body. The compliment was disguised, covering a jealousy that I was holding. I felt in the moment to say something but paying a complement was by far worse than if I had stopped to acknowledge how I was feeling – a learning for next time round! To think I got away with it is a lie as everything is sensed in every moment.

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