How To Accept A Compliment [+ Give One ; )]
When was the last time someone complimented you + you simply thanked them? Without telling them they were wrong? Without belittling yourself? Maybe it’s been awhile.
We’re taught to be humble, ++ sometimes, that manifests in rejecting compliments. The definitions of humble + modest are actually negative — “having or showing a low estimate of one’s own importance.”
I mean, think about all the times you’ve belted out One Direction’s lyrics — “You don’t know you’re beautiful.” We shouldn’t be fully aware of our beauty the way others see us. That’s how we win over Harry Styles, right? But… why?!
Personally, I struggle with feedback — good or bad. I try to do my own thing, regardless of what people think of me, so when someone does try to give me their opinion, I often go into fight or flight mode. Are they mocking me? Do I look dumb? Are they being sarcastic? Should I trust them?
No, they’re complimenting me! Here are the three pieces of advice I have on how to give [+ receive!] compliments…
#1] Never Take Anything Personally — One of the Four Agreements is to take nothing personally. This is so challenging! Anything anyone says is really a reflection of them. If they say something negative, it’s covering up an insecurity of their own. It’s rare they are actually trying to insult you. [If so… radiate positive vibes — buh-bye?!]
If someone says something positive about you, it’s coming from a place of admiration. Embrace that + the warm fuzzies that come with someone sharing loving energy with you!
However, it’s nothing more than that. When we get attached to compliments, we tend to rely on external validation. Even if your love language is words of affirmation [to learn yours, take this quick + free quiz!], you must detach compliments from your own self-worth. You are brilliant, bold, + beautiful regardless of what anyone thinks. Still, it is nice when people remind you of what you already know!
We all doubt ourselves a little bit, but actually building our confidence shouldn’t come from compliments. Gain that confidence elsewhere [like getting out of your comfort zone, learning new skills, or personal mantras!], ++ instead appreciate the act of kindness from the other person. Say thank you, smile, ++ remember how that made you feel. You know you’ll want to pay it forward again in the future.
#2] Return The Love… Sincerely — Now, don’t immediately feel obligated to return the compliment. It’s like when you’re going to the movies + they tell you to enjoy the movie. “Thanks you too!” Errrr, awkward… You want to give genuine compliments!
Instead of saying generic compliments like “I love it/that!” how can you be more specific with your compliments? What specific trait do you love about someone? How can you call out specific qualities or actions in others that you appreciate?
Try to only give specific compliments. “Is that new highlighter or are you seriously glowing with happiness?” “I love that outfit you’re rocking. You look so confident in it!” “You sound so intelligent when you talk about your major/work. I can tell you’re passionate about it!”
When you’re more aware of others’ positive attributes, you’ll not only make them feel more awesome with a genuine compliment, but you’ll begin to shift the conversation around yourself.
#3] Remember To Compliment Yourself, Too — Some days, it can be hard to look in the mirror + say you like the whole package. When you can call out smaller, more specific compliments to yourself, you start to appreciate the bigger picture. You are not just one image — not your Instagram aesthetic, or your typical outfit [even though sometimes I do feel like a cartoon wearing a variation of the same outfit all the time!]. You, like everyone else, are a bunch of little, complicated, beautiful pieces that together form a beautiful you.
The sooner you recognize + appreciate the small puzzle pieces of others, the sooner you can love yourself in the same way. Then, the next time a compliment comes your way, you can accept graciously. “Thank you, I really appreciate your kind words.”
Because you do. Own it! <3