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

1,830 thoughts on “Compliments and Me

  1. Building a foundation of constant appreciation not only backs us up with what comes up in life but also allows us to receive more of the volume of the universe, in whatever shape or form it presents in our lives.

  2. Compliments may come from different ‘places’ and may represent things in a range from absolute truths to wish to please another and be awarded a special place because of that (a sort of action seemingly aimed to confirm another one but that is truly to generate a movement of confirmation in the one who has issued the compliment). So, we have to be discerning what is behind it. In the first instance, we have to choose whether we want to make them part of our movements or not. In the second, it is simply fuel to keep playing the game of needs.

  3. We have a joke at work at the moment where if someone gives another a compliment and says something like ‘I like your top’ the person really exaggerates and says ”oh this old thing its really old and smells and has holes in it and I have had it for years’ because we picked up that is what people would do if given a compliment .. not in such detail but definitely saying ‘oh this old thing’, in other words brushing the compliment off. Which is great because as well as having a laugh it brings an awareness to what we do when someone gives us a compliment. Reflecting here though what I can see is that compliments are mostly given about someones appearance instead of the qualities they hold as a person and what they bring. I guess one step at a time .. when we start to finally accept compliments about our appearance the next step with naturally happen .. accepting compliments on the quality or attributes we bring.

    1. I agree, most of us are more inclined to acknowledge a compliment if it is about an external item we are wearing or have, as then the focus is on something material. Give a compliment about someone’s qualities and what is deeply inspiring about them and that is a whole different ball game… what I find is it can stop people in their tracks, because sometimes it may be the first time they have ever heard that and there is a humbleness.

  4. It is very interesting how we can respond quickly to not feel what has been offered. I noticed this recently when another woman complimented me. I had obviously felt it and instead of allowing myself to feel it I quickly responded back to her justifying myself that she too deserved a compliment back. There are many ways I can reject a complement but even calling it out when I do allowing myself to feel the rejection is supporting me to deepen the acceptance and appreciation towards myself as I become more aware of those moments where I avoid evolution in my life.

  5. Thank you for the reminder Nicole to stop and truly take in the compliment someone has offered. I like what you share “Its not the compliment 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.

  6. Do we focus on the compliments, the appreciation, or only on the criticism and the hardness? Being aware of what we give our focus to, without needing to go into the story of why, is how we start to shift things.

  7. When we fob off a compliment we are denying a quality we are expressing that is a reflection of heaven. Also, do we ever register that a compliment can come with someone trying to bring you down…. I know, it seems the absolute opposite but there is something in that moment we are reflecting that the other person may not want to see.

  8. Thank you Nicole, this really resonates with me. It is also a reminder to express my appreciation and awareness of the blossoming beauty in others.

  9. Who would have thought accepting and appreciating ourselves would not be something we just do, or just are without any activity at all?! I am sure we are full of ourselves as babies, so what kind of crazy world is it that we learn to doubt ourselves and have a lack of self worth as our normal – crazy crazy!!!

  10. Yes accepting compliments can be a challenge sometimes, we can give compliments, but I find receiving them can be not so easy. So great to read over how you have become more accepting of them, really awesome to read.

  11. Beautiful Nicole that is exactly so for me too, the moment I feel not fullfilled within myself and someone else is complimenting me on those qualities I have not appreciated for myself in full I can react and brush it off even by movements! Interesting, even though its getting less the examples are getting more obvious which they are incredibly valuable to learn from and move on from – that is to appreciate my whole self every day more..

  12. Personally I struggle with compliments… I get a little bit embarrassed and will try to duck it or deflect it. Its a weird dichotomy as at the same time I have spent a lifetime looking for recognition, to get people to notice me. Straightening both of these traits out has been a real eye opener for me and life makes alot more sense!

  13. How we are with compliments is dependant on how we are with ourselves, for example, if we are hard on ourselves, strive for perfectionism etc then it is a lot harder to actually accept compliments. The key to accepting compliments is the level of self-acceptance that we have.

    1. Very true Elizabeth. I have noticed the gentler and more loving I am with myself the more at ease and open I am with compliments. I used to feel so uncomfortable with compliments and now I feel appreciative of them. This is because my relationship with myself has deepened and become more loving.

  14. Using a compliment as a marker of whether or not you are appreciating yourself is a great idea! I’m doing an experiment where I try and catch all the little negative thoughts I get about myself and it’s fascinating, it’s making me appreciate who I am and enjoy who I am much more, but also it’s making me much more understanding of others.

  15. Even now I am doing it again – resisting a big compliment that was just beautifully given, moments before sitting down to answer this blog!I could have just bathed in the stupendousness of what was just witnessed and said, but I just wanted to move on. We are so used to not being permitted to acknowledge the awesomeness of ourselves (partly because deep down we know we are merely a vehicle of expression) that it makes us uncomfortable.

  16. We seem to find it very easy to accept a criticism, but not a compliment. Therein lies the lesson for us all that our own view of ourselves is perhaps not the self-appreciation we deserve.

  17. How little we accept and appreciate all that we are… thank God that another may bring this to us that we may confirm and appreciate our living quality for ourselves.

  18. It is a strange phenomenon that we are generally more comfortable talking about our struggles in life than expressing or accepting another expressing our true qualities. Such is the way we are taught from young which is completely upside down, for expressing true appreciation for each other is natural…

  19. A great point to observe about ourselves Nicole how we react or respond to compliments. It also highlights the importance of reading and discerning the intention behind the compliments through the quality in which it is expressed. Compliments can confirm what we have already felt and accepted within ourselves or whether we need to look more deeply into why we are reacting to them.

  20. We can always go deeper with allowing ourselves to feel the appreciation from another. I noticed this the other night when I was complimented by a warm and gorgeous man. I accepted the compliment but only to a level I was comfortable with… there definitely was more he was seeing and recognising than what I was willing to accept.

  21. I have noticed this as well and even reading the article I could see how much this is done. As is being said it’s all about not feeling what is there to be felt and you can do almost anything to stop this, the saying of something funny, witty, nice etc etc but I like the moment pause or stop to feel that is presented in this article and this makes sense. I have been dedicated to giving myself the space to feel things like this and how much this supports and now I feel more aware of it.

  22. I am finding it easier to accept compliments, the more I get to know and appreciate myself and my qualities. When this appreciation isn’t there it can feel like they just don’t know how awful you are or just haven’t seen what you aren’t so good at. I really like to accept compliments now as it is an offering like a gift from the other person.

  23. I know in my early years receiving a compliment was very hard to acknowledge due to my low self worth back then, I know my self worth has grown some because i found my self saying a heart felt thank you the other day with a smile of appreciation, not just for the compliment offered and received but for me being me also.

  24. Such a turn around Nicole – brushing off compliments is a normality, but if we are doing that with ourselves, then how can we truly compliment another. I have found that the more I deeply accept compliments from others, the more I naturally appreciate others and am able to voice this.

  25. Learning to appreciate myself has made a big difference to how I am with myself and others. I would say I have a lot more understanding and am gentler with myself.

  26. Being able to accept compliments with appreciation feels amazing but when we reject or put down a compliment, to me this is a sign of rejecting how amazing we are.

  27. I used to judge and not appreciate myself and in those days I found it hard to accept compliments. Now I don’t have an issue with that. If it is a true compliment I take it on board either as a confirmation ie yes I know that is true about me or for something for me to bring greater awareness and appreciation to. If it is a false one said for some other reason (as people can also say what appear to be compliments as a form of put down) I note that too and discern where the person is at to have expressed in that manner.

  28. ‘…the ‘mini story’ is anything really to prevent me from feeling that someone else noticed something ‘I’ chose to ignore.’ How our stories can got us off track! And how lovely it is to let in the compliment and explore this highlighted and valued area in you which you have not seen of yourself but now have a chance to appreciate more of who you are.

  29. This article brings a great point and for me it exposes a program almost that we run. When you look at things, some can appear more difficult to break then others and for me this is one. It’s not that it is more difficult truly it’s just that it’s possible there is a stronger momentum behind somethings more then others. I have found with ‘compliments’ or appreciation it takes a conscious practice to listen, really listen and we have set up a little program at home to support this where in place of letting people know what they are doing wrong we detail what we see or appreciate about them. At first it was an exercise that hit a thousand excuses of why it couldn’t be done, to tired, nothing to say, to busy, there is something else we need to do etc etc. So it took the continual daily practice of making set time to do this. It’s not a chore or anything like that because you consistently can sense how you feel after it and the giving and receiving of compliments or appreciation have been a huge support.

  30. A brilliant blog Nicole exposing how we brush comments aside or go into a ‘mini story’ about it to divert the attention away from ourselves. Learning to accept a compliment and say ‘thank you’ when it is given is something I have been practicing as well, and bringing a daily practice of appreciation into our lives supports us to accept ourselves and to let go of any judgments we can hold towards ourselves.

  31. This is a great realisation Nicole – we sell ourselves short through believing we are lesser and unworthy of another’s appreciation – a marker in the fact that we do not actually have appreciation for ourselves.
    “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”.

  32. It is truly weird to be on the end of giving out a heart-felt compliment to someone and they slide over it, essentially denying it, blocking it. Thank heavens I can read such a situation now, and lightly say to the person – ‘Did you get that,? Did you hear how wonderful you are?’

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