Why and how accepting compliments can be good for our confidence
How do you respond to compliments?
Do you graciously accept them? Or rationalise them? Or just flat out reject them?
Failure to accept a compliment is a sign of a lack of confidence. It is a subtle message to ourselves that we are not worthy of the compliment. The effects can be harmful on our self-esteem over time.
This post walks through how we can get better at accepting compliments, in turn, improving our confidence.
But before we go on, I want to clarify one really big issue.
Our confidence and feelings of self-worth should not be defined by how others see us. A compliment is someone else’s judgement or assessment of our value – to them. It is their perspective. Learning how to graciously accept a compliment is not about improving our confidence because we need to place weight on what others think of us.
Confidence is not ‘they will like me’. Confidence is ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t’
This is an important point to clarify. Why? Because what others think of us is not actually our business. But what we think of ourselves is entirely our business.
It is worth paying attention to how we respond to compliments. If someone takes the time and effort or makes a gesture to pay us a compliment, then it is nice to politely accept the compliment.
Why? Well, it shows kindness to the person who gave the compliment. And there can never be too much kindness in this world.
But more importantly, it is a message to ourselves that we are worthy. We are enough. We are making a difference in someone’s life. Our efforts are worth being noticed.
Accepting a compliment goes to the heart of building confidence. Because it is about being comfortable with who we are, and our light and contribution to the world. It is about knowing and trusting that we are worthy.
We don’t need to rely on compliments to reinforce our feelings of worth. But if someone notices our talents and values, and makes the effort to recognise them, then this is always a nice reminder that we matter.
And our ability to feel comfortable with the recognition of our talents and value is a building block to improved confidence. When we are at ease with showing who we are, we are living life confidently.
So, how can we get better at accepting compliments?
Firstly, we need to be aware of how we currently respond to them. For me, there are plenty of times when I will get a compliment and immediately respond by putting myself down. I usually say it in a joking way, but this is a serious reflection of my inability to be comfortable with being me. It is a reaction that says, to me, that I don’t deserve that praise. That I should not be recognised for that ability.
Once we are aware, we can then work through how to turn the rejection into acceptance. And this trick is a ‘fake it til you make it’ kind of trick. Because the messages we tell ourselves matter. The narrative we feed ourselves becomes our reality. So, if we can turn that story around from being ‘I’m not good enough to be recognised’ to ‘yeah, I am brilliant and I want the world to see it!’, we will build our confidence. Through positive messaging and reinforcement.
Instead of rationalising a compliment with a joke, or a put down, we just need to simply say ‘thank you’.
That’s it. It is that simple!
Saying thank you, and smiling is even better. Because when we smile, we release feel-good hormones such as endorphins and serotonin.
What a great combo! Creating a positive narrative and feeling good at the same time!
On the journey to building our confidence and living to our potential, every step counts.
This action, of improving the way we accept compliments, is once such strategy that gets us closer to being our authentic self. The confident, incredible and valuable person that we are.
So remember, next time you get a compliment, say thank you, smile and feel your confidence grow.