When someone gives you a compliment, what is the first thing you do? Deny it? Change the subject? Ignore it? Give a long-winded explanation as to why you don’t deserve the compliment? I wonder how many times you have simply just said “thank you”.
When I was younger, I used to think that if someone thanked another person for a compliment that meant that they were arrogant. It meant that they believed the compliment, and therefore they didn’t deserve it. In hindsight, that is pretty messed up! If someone gives you a compliment, it usually means you deserve it – shocking right? So why don’t we just take it, and enjoy it? My guess is, most of us don’t believe we are worthy of the compliment. It might be that you have some general insecurities, or that you have been bullied or ridiculed in the past. It might simply be that you are so shocked by someone ACTUALLY complimenting you that you don’t know how to react! Let’s begin with something simple, giving compliments to others. You can practice this in your head first, before you say it out loud. When you are out and about, sitting in a café, sitting on public transport, or wherever you happen to be, pick a few people at random, and compliment them (in your head). After a while, it will come naturally to you, to compliment anyone that walks past you (and I encourage you to do so) however these compliments must be sincere, or it’s just not worth it. When you have become confident in your quiet compliments, we are going to start making them loud! You can start to compliment people you come across in day to day life. The bank teller, the shop assistant, the waiter in the restaurant. You don’t have to be creepy about it, but practice giving them a compliment (it will probably make their day). When you have been saying these compliments out loud to other people, you will get used to hearing them, and it will become second nature to you, to accept them. What’s more, you will notice how other react when they are given compliments. Note how many people disagree or make excuses for your compliments! I’ve gone so far as to say to people, “Just take the compliment and shut up”. Honestly some people just can’t. Ten years ago I was one of those people!
Now you are used to giving others compliments, out loud and in your head. It’s about time they came back to you. You will probably start to receive a few more compliments (this generally happens when you give more out) so it’s time to start practising what to say. Start off nice and simple. Just thank them for their compliment. Nothing more, nothing less. You don’t need to over-explain why you do or don’t deserve it. The person giving you the compliment thinks you deserve it, and that’s enough. When you are a little more comfortable with accepting a compliment, you can start to give a compliment back (not too forced!) or tell the person how it means for you to receive the compliment. Often I am so blown away when someone gives me a really deep compliment that I have to take a split second to digest what they just said. Did they really say something that nice to ME?! Wow, they must really mean it (NOT – I don’t deserve it). Compliments make me feel warm and fuzzy. They make me feel special. They can also make me feel a little guilty – did I compliment enough people to deserve this compliment? That’s NOT how it works! Compliments are not something you earn back! They are something you get because people care about you, they think you are wonderful and they think you deserve to feel that way. How do you FEEL when you receive a genuine compliment? How do you ACT when you receive a genuine compliment?
P.S. The day I wore this dress was the day I received the most compliments in the whole of 2019 - but I don't think it was because I wore a dress. I think it was because I felt so damn confident, and comfortable in my own skin. It's incredible what a little confidence can do to the way you look, act and feel.