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

1,928 thoughts on “Compliments and Me

  1. This makes me wonder how or whether our compliments are really just that and are not laced with an ounce of comparison or jealousy, or whatever that does not belong to the truth of who we are. We are incredibly sensitive, all of us are. In our communication and interaction, are we empowering others? Are we offering a safe space for others to be and express the joy of being who we are?

  2. Who and what are we delivering when we claim ‘we are not too bad’ and does this serve our bodies or is it sending a down and out message. What you have shared about appreciation Nicole, is spot-on and we should all at least own a healthy way of speaking about ourselves rather than the insidious ways of the past that put our-selves and others down.

  3. Imagine how settled and contented we as a society could be if we loved and appreciated ourselves – an amazing joy to share. And out would go the drugs, alcohol, junk food and other self harming activities, life would profoundly change.

  4. “for me to truly see and accept myself for who I am, which is the ultimate compliment of all!” It is the ultimate compliment and has a richness that we can live in our lives.

  5. Someone paid me a compliment the other day and I honestly couldn’t feel what was said in my body, so reading this blog is timely because it shows me that there are aspects of ourselves that we just do not recognise and accept as a quality and strength, but it doesn’t mean to say that others cannot feel it. This helped me to bring more awareness to my body and what I actually do rather than living on autopilot missing the finer details of life.

  6. I used to need compliments from others, otherwise I felt I would internally crumble. I used them as a prop to feel good about myself. Now-a-days I have built much more self-appreciation and self-worth and the need has vanished, although accepting compliments as a confirmation is a lovely thing.

  7. Because of the discomfort we can feel upon receiving a compliment, we can also really quickly gloss over it and return a random compliment to the other – this is just another way to not go deeper with our relationship with ourselves and our power.

    1. Very true Henrietta – “this is just another way to not go deeper with our relationship with ourselves and our power.”

  8. I love Nicole how you have turned this opportunity around – how you seize a moment such as a discomfort from receiving a compliment and feel how there is a quality about yourself to acknowledge, feel and deeply appreciate.

  9. “. . . 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.” Ouch! That is really something to swallow. Thank you Nicole for pointing out how dismissive we sometimes can be with ourselves.

  10. It’s taken me a long time to accept compliments that I have pushed away in the past but now my relationship with myself has deepened so much and I can accept myself I can now accept the compliments because they feel true in my body.

  11. If we have self worth issues, compliments can at times make us feel uncomfortable because we are being asked to acknowledge something in ourselves that we don’t want to see, because if we did, it would expose how we use self worth issues to make us feel less.

    1. Spot on Alison – crazy really to feel how we can NOT want to feel how awesome we are! Any excuse will do to fight our power.

  12. “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.” This is spot on, and how so many of us respond when we are paid a compliment. I know I have avoided allowing myself to feel the depth of what is being offered as I was brought up to feel that it was either ‘rude’, ‘big headed’ or you were ‘showing off’ to think well of oneself so would constantly put myself down, or at least dismiss what was being said. The harm this does to ourselves though is enormous, and actually supports no one.

  13. Embracing compliments for the opportunity that they offer to go deeper with our appreciation of all that we are is a complete turnaround for most of us and a beautiful way to celebrate ourselves and all that we offer.

  14. It’s great to bring it back to our relationship to ourselves because it would be easy to make it about the outer compliment.

  15. Yes I know that one when some makes that compliment about me and there is that awkward feeling and wanting to brush it of as I haven’t truly appreciated that about myself. Letting go of the pictures of what I think I need to be is clearing the path for me to be all of who I am and then you can’t help but not see how amazing we really are.

    1. It’s a good point about the pictures and ideals we hold ourselves to, they keep us in a dead end of never measuring up so when a compliment comes we can dismiss it in the same way we dismiss ourselves. Add beliefs to the mix such as “I’m not good enough” and we encase a wall around ourselves that prevents us from seeing and feeling the beauty within.

  16. On the flip side I have felt to compliment people loads of times, sometimes random strangers. But I hold back because it may not be accepted or taken the wrong way or they take it beyond a simple compliment. But this is another way of using people to measure how I feel to express. A subject that is being unpicked at the moment.

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