How to Accept Compliments

Like you did as a kid


“I’m wonderful and good-looking. Look at me!” My pal’s child laughed at his appearance in my hall mirror.

His self-confident smile spoke before the sentence escaped from his mouth. He realized he was amazing. The phenomenon was unassailable.

Do similar thoughts arise when you analyze your reflection? Most likely, your reply is “no.”

Countless folks can’t receive compliments graciously let alone produce them independently.

“Fantastic,” said Tom’s tutor. “You’re so clever.”

“Yes. I am.”

That’s the way to receive a compliment, though you may be more polite.

How to abandon the urge to rebuff

Unlike Tom, you may instinctively want to reject compliments. You might destroy them by highlighting your shortcomings.

“What, this ancient scarf? I picked it up cheap in a yard sale. The prior owner was a strange woman, and even she chose to get rid of it.”

The point is, you must kill your insecurity when somebody compliments you.


If you don’t, you may say something like my friend Susie said — “Oh, you appreciated the joke?

“Well, I’m not entertaining. I can’t remember jokes. I spoil them. When I deliver the punch-line everybody’s disappeared, usually. You stayed because you’re kind.”

The compliment was rescinded because Susie’s remonstrations about being unworthy were so convincing.

The first step to compliment-approval is to pause a moment when you are praised.


The second step? Inhale.

Take deep breaths when you’re complimented. Let the words soak into your mind and you’ll feel grateful before the impulse to apologize overrides the opportunity for appreciation.

Why acceptance of compliments is tough

You might find it difficult to receive compliments if you don’t realize you deserve them.

Odds on, the concept you aren’t worthy stems from your childhood when you sucked-up adult’s views, even though they weren’t true.

A casual comment from a parent, “you’re so daft Sarah,” or “you’ll never be special Tim” could have invaded your psyche and lingered there.

When you were a small kid like good-looking Tom, though, no one had damaged your confidence (yet). There was no reason to doubt you weren’t the bee’s knees. You sang and danced in front of folks, drew stick-men, and expected everyone to marvel at you.

Say “Thanks” and smile

The third step to receiving praise is to say “thanks” and smile. Repel the impulse to add degrading remarks to praise.

If you’ve been too modest for your own good as an adult it will take time before you are a proficient compliment-receiver. Keep working at it. If necessary, use the ‘as if’ method when approval is issued.

Pretend you’re a kid. Smile, stand with your hands on your hips, and puff out your cheeks. Add a sparkle to your eyes and simply reply “thanks!”




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✨ Bridget Webber

✨ Bridget Webber


Writer, former counselor, author, and avid tea drinker learning how to live well.