In society it seems like it’s the norm not to accept compliments. When someone pays us a compliment it generally feels weird, wrong, and awkward to accept it. Why aren’t we accepting compliments? What is in our upbringing, our past and society’s past that doesn’t allow us to receive compliments? I have been thinking a lot about this and reflecting on how one can get to a place where you’re comfortable with accepting compliments. So when someone tells you that you’re really smart or you did a good job, how can you accept this without being self-deprecating?
I experienced an ‘awkward’ compliment the other day where someone told me that I was wise. I froze for a moment and responded ‘Oh you should see me in front of a taco bar!' - What a ridiculous response! I could have said ‘thank-you’ or ‘you’re so kind’, but no I went straight for the taco bar. I realized afterwards that I could have accepted the compliment with so much more grace. I know this happens a lot to people. Someone will tell you that you’re beautiful or intelligent and the immediate response is to say something really horrible about yourself.
The first step to really accept compliments, and being okay with being great, is to start practicing complimenting yourself. Our inner voice can really trick us sometimes by telling us that we are not anything great – ‘you’re not smart, you’re not intelligent, you’re not beautiful, you’re not wise’. It boils down to looking at yourself and admitting that ‘Yeah, I am smart!’ and accepting that it’s part of your essence. Committing to NOT self-deprecating when someone pays you a compliment is the next step towards receiving one. When you hear your critical voice playing up, count down from 5 to 1, give yourself a compliment and accept it with as much ease and grace as you can. This will get you into a space where when a compliment comes from the outside world, you can begin to fully receive it and feel good about it.
We all have goals that we want to reach and when we reach our goals it might feel like an anti-climax. It’s kind of the same with compliments. You might want compliments but when they actually are being given, you want to run away and hide from the attention. Developing a practice of complimenting yourself and falling in love with yourself will give you the grace to believe the compliments when you receive them.
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