Why are they so difficult to accept and what can we do?

For many people, a compliment is not a simple matter

For many people, a compliment is not a simple matter. Even a simple “thank you” doesn’t come easily. But when you don’t believe the compliments you receive, you limit how well you know yourself.

There are probably many reasons why someone has difficulty accepting compliments: low self-esteem, trauma, depression, lack of compliments as a child, too many compliments as a child, etc. But no matter how complex the reasons are, the path to acceptance is simple. This is a three-step process. First, believe what they tell you. If you’re still having trouble, do a second check. And if it’s still hard, check yourself.

Step one: Believe what they tell you

When someone tries to compliment you, they are speaking subjectively. For example, if you’re 1.90 and I’m like, “Wow, you’re tall!” If I say, I’m telling the truth. If I am 1.60, many people are tall compared to me. If you answer, “No, I’m not. My father is tall’, maybe you are right, but what I said was also true. I think you are tall. I didn’t say you are taller than anyone. I subjectively say from my average height that you are tall. My opinion is not something you can argue with me. Likewise, when I say you’re smart or funny, I’m interpreting who’s smart or funny based on my own definition, which is how I see you. I am not saying that everyone in the world will agree with me. I speak from my perspective. It’s frustratingly easy to misunderstand the intent behind people’s words. When someone compliments you, they are talking about something observable.

Step Two: Check again

If you’re still having trouble accepting a compliment because it doesn’t feel right, you don’t have to accept it just because it’s said. You can refer to a third party. It can be difficult to accept an opinion when it is the opposite of your own, so call in reinforcements. Ask the other person what they think. If two or three or even two out of four people are not enough, you can ask. If you keep hearing the same thing over and over and still can’t accept the compliment, then something more insidious may be going on.

Step three: Check yourself

How honest are you with friends and family when they ask for your opinion? People who have difficulty accepting compliments usually hide their feelings from others. Therefore, they may assume that others are doing what they are doing. If you’re not being honest with others or lying about what you believe, it’s no wonder you have trouble trusting other people’s praise. “What are you doing, how are you?” Be more honest with the people around you, even with questions like

How we receive compliments is above all an indicator of self-confidence. If you can’t trust what they say, how close can you get to someone and have a relationship with them?

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