How come, as a society, we’ve become really uncomfortable with accepting compliments? There’s part of us that just doesn’t believe the person giving the compliment and another part of us fearing what others will think if we do accept the compliment. Some of you may be confused at this point, saying that this doesn’t apply to you because you always thank people when they give you compliments. Let me ask you, even if you do say thank you, do you really accept the compliment?
Has anyone ever said to you “wow, I really love that shirt on you” and your response was something like “thanks! I really don’t like it very much though” or “aww, thank you, you don’t have to say that” or “thanks, but it just hugs me too tight and shows all my rolls.” If any of those sound remotely similar to some of your responses to compliments you were given, it sounds like you aren’t truly accepting them.
Let’s tear this apart a bit more. What makes a person resist a compliment or feel uncomfortable when receiving one? Let’s assume the intention of the person giving the compliment was all in good faith, since most compliments are. Why do we feel uncomfortable accepting something that is being given to you and takes away nothing from the person giving it? It’s not hurting them by accepting it, and with that, it means the discomfort lies within ourselves.
Resisting compliments is not nice to do to yourself. It is you saying to yourself that you are not worthy of this compliment and it is not ok to pretend that what the person is saying to you is accurate or true. It is fostering distrust in others because by not accepting compliments, you are invalidating what another person believes to be true, and asserting to yourself that this is untrue. By doing so, it can hurt relationships. It feels good to give someone a compliment, and that feel-good experience is taken away when the person the compliment is intended for resists it.
What reasons can you think of that a person has to compliment you when they don’t mean it? I bet you’re answering right now something like this “they’re just trying to be nice” or “they know it’s not true and no one else would say it to me, so they are pitying me.” No one owes anyone a compliment. When people give compliments, it usually is because they genuinely mean what they are saying. Your answers to the question I just asked are excuses for not accepting the compliments and disguising a form of self-hatred and feelings of unworthiness. If you can’t do anything to change this right now, it’s ok, but please I ask you to think about this and recognize what your reasons are for not accepting compliments.
If you have recognized that or are feeling a bit frisky, I want to challenge you to whole-heartedly accept the next compliment you are given. When you are given that compliment, say the following and only the following; “thank you!” Say it unapologetically, loudly and with a smile on your face. No after-thoughts in your response, no reasons why the compliment is incorrect, just a hardy “thank you!” You may feel uncomfortable with this and you probably will, and that’s ok, it’s a different experience for you. But remember that saying “fake it til you make it?” There’s validity to that statement. Even if you don’t fully think you can accept the compliment now, fake it. Over time, with consistency, you will be able to accept those compliments genuinely. I’m not claiming it’s easy, but I can say that it will be worth it.
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I wish you the ability to accept your worthiness on your journey to finding your State Of Balance.
Binge And Restrict Cycle
Eating Disorder Specialist
Healthy Self Vs. Eating Disorder