What is your reaction when you are paid a compliment? Do you push it away by saying something negative, do you feel your whole body stiffen and find it hard to make eye contact. Do you even hear it?
Often our responses to being complimented are because we have a negative self view. As a nation, we find it hard to see ourselves positively and to own it at the risk of being seen as big-headed and arrogant and so we find it hard to acknowledge our own strengths, abilities, looks or intelligence. We want to shrink and hide away instead of hearing the compliment and taking it in – and feeling good about ourselves. I remember being like this through my teenage into my late twenties/early thirties. I had to learn to firstly hear it, then accept it without pushing it away.
A compliment is like someone giving you a gift. When you negate it or bat it away, you are pushing back the gift and saying you can’t accept it. Think about how you feel when you tell someone something you appreciate about them – ‘You look lovely today’ or ‘I appreciate your time’ and they bat it back to you – does it feel good? No.
When you give another person a compliment and they smile and say “Thank you, that makes me feel really good”, it feels good to you too doesn’t it? It’s an exchange and you both feel a connection in that moment.
Celebrate National Compliment Day and when you notice something you like about someone, tell them. If you receive a compliment today – breathe, pause, hear it, let it in and say “Thank you”. It may be difficult at first – you don’t have to believe it, just hear it. Over time, the more you practice, the better at receiving you will become and the better you will feel about yourself.