Why Accepting Compliments are So Hard

Written by Carine Camara

What is your favorite way to deflect a compliment? My usual go-to was either a self-deprecating joke or maybe even to change the subject entirely. Compliments made me super uneasy and put an unwanted spotlight on things about myself that I personally did not find all that great, regardless of what others saw. 

Well turns out I am not alone. Nearly 70% of the population associate feelings of embarrassment or discomfort with recognition or receiving a compliment. This could easily be chopped up to having low self-esteem, but that isn’t always true.  Those with low self-esteem are often uncomfortable receiving compliments, but not everyone who is uncomfortable receiving compliments necessarily has low self-esteem. 

It really comes down to a battle between you and your inner critic. That voice that tells you that you are not good enough or convinces you that kind those words are more rooted in pity than praise. You miraculously become both the attacker and the attacked (not the best way to multi-task). 

So it is hard to believe that many psychologists operate under the philosophy that this voice deserves compassion. When you show your inner critic compassion, it transforms into a protective guardian with your best interest at heart. Combating your negative self-talk with positive nuggets of truth can instantly take you out of defense mode. The more you practice accepting compliments, the more your self-confidence grows, and you gain an awareness of how to enjoy life and take good care of yourself.

Mastering taking compliments not only does wonders for your own personal mental, physical, and emotional health, but it is a relationship builder. Being able to know and accept yourself, and allow the compliments of others, is so important to healthy relationships. It is a way of deepening a loving bond. 

This small step toward healing and rejecting self-limiting beliefs can be a pivotal turning point in being more fully present with yourself and others and feeling more fully self-led and alive. So next time someone gives you a compliment, choose to believe it.