That’s why you find it so hard to accept compliments

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That’s why you find it so hard to accept compliments

Whenever someone compliments you, whether it’s a great accomplishment, a personality trait, or an appearance, you feel overwhelmed, kind of awkward, and don’t know how to respond. Instead of a simple “Thank you!” followed by a sentence like “Oh, not worth mentioning” or “You look much better!”. Why is it so difficult for you to simply accept and believe nice words about yourself?

Why many find it difficult to accept compliments:
1. For fear of appearing conceited

Many of us have been taught by our upbringing (parents, school, religion, etc.) that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously and prefer to exercise restraint. Vanity and self-praise are frowned upon in our society. It’s difficult to simply accept praise and compliments from others – our instinct tells us to play them down or at least compliment the other person as well.

2. Doubts about the unconditionality of the compliment

As previously mentioned, some of us feel the need to return a compliment promptly. This could be because we fear (subconsciously) that the compliment the other person gave was not given voluntarily but was on a “condition” – and we disappoint the other person when we don’t follow the unspoken agreement of the other person keep reciprocity.

This could be due to a disturbed parent-child relationship, in which the child has learned that all praise is associated with a service in return – although praise and compliments can of course also be given without services at all.

3. Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem is probably the main reason many people find it difficult to accept compliments. It makes us believe that we don’t deserve compliments or doubt their truthfulness. Or we’re shy and don’t like being in the spotlight, so we prefer to push compliments away.

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4. Perfectionism

You believe that nothing you do can ever be good enough. Therefore, you find it difficult to accept compliments and just be happy about them.

5. Negative self-assessment

In connection with points 3 and 4: You may have the feeling that others may overlook your faults and weaknesses – however, since you know very well that they are there, you cannot accept compliments from others (after all, you “know” better what is wrong with yours performance, your looks are not right). You may also think that if others knew the “whole truth,” they probably wouldn’t compliment you. This is probably also closely related to low self-esteem.

Just say thank you
The next time someone compliments you (because yes, there will be a next time), try pausing before you start downplaying the compliment – and then simply say thank you. Perhaps you can then reflect briefly on what it does to you to hear these words from someone. Try to see the positive in it.

Because in the end, compliments are just that: a positive, nice gesture from someone else who takes the time to make your day a little bit better and usually just means it in a friendly way. Of course you can also return a compliment – but only if it is meant honestly!

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