When Compliments Make You Uncomfortable

May 02, 2019 By Kayode Oseh

A complement is an attribute from one person to another. It is a gift from the heart offered to another person--but some time it makes one feel uncomfortable.

Some people find it hard receiving a complement Maybe he or she have been taught that feeling good or proud about oneself means arrogance--but that's bad anyway. Or he or she might feel uneasy accepting the compliment because of holding negative thoughts and feelings about oneself, and so the compliment doesn’t match their inner reality. Such negative self-perceptions cause needless emotional suffering.

To begin receiving compliments as they are meant to be, you must first become aware of your defensive behaviors. Here are some common ways that people deflect or minimize compliments:

Dismissing the comment: If you pretend that the person never complimented you – or you move quickly onto another subject, then you don’t have to experience the discomfort.

Trying to prove you are unworthy: You might feel compelled to prove the person wrong by telling them all the ways that you fall short of their praise. Or, you might make a joke of the compliment.

Turning the focus on the other person: Your brain might automatically minimize the compliment and jump to a return compliment. By highlighting something wonderful about the person who has just admired you, you can quickly turn the focus on them – with the bonus of possibly indirectly proving how you really are not worthy of a compliment in the way that they are.

Getting suspicious: You might question the other person’s motives for saying something nice because, after all, you don’t deserve the compliment. You might also fear that you will be hurt, manipulated, or betrayed. So even if you outwardly accept the compliment, you feel anything but good about it.

Not only do these defensive responses prevent you from fully enjoying a compliment, but they also deprive the other person of the opportunity of feeling good for offering it. It’s amazing how much better off the two of you would be if you replied with something like, “I appreciate you saying that. It makes me feel good.” Or, you can nurture positive feelings by graciously accepting compliments with a simple “Thank you.”


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