Giving and Receiving Compliments

Deflecting compliments is a well strengthened reflex for a surprising number of people. Someone speaks kind of us and we brush it off, change the subject or fail to find the truth in what has been said. Inability to receive a compliment mirrors our own feelings of not being good enough. It prevents us from experiencing the gift of someone's kind words, and it stops the other person from experiencing the gift of making someone else feel good.
So why is the gift of receiving a compliment so hard to accept?

We listen and believe our negative thoughts all day long that hearing positive words are alien and unknown.
Maybe we don't trust the person who has given us the compliment and believe they have an ulterior motive.
We think if we accept the compliment we will appear arrogant or vain.

Women are particularly critical of their bodies; we may be waiting until our bodies are 'perfect' before we feel worthy of a compliment.

How can we learn to accept a compliment?
Start looking for your strengths and positive characteristics and when somebody else notices what you have already recognised it wont feel so alien.

Develop your self confidence and integrity so the other persons motives become unimportant to you, as you trust your own reactions and behaviour.

As opposed to reacting to a compliment in a way that you think other people will approve of, react with sincere appreciation for that persons time and kind words.
Start replying to compliments with a simple and honest 'thank you'. This will become a habit once you start.

When we see the value in who we are we won't need to receive compliments and yet we can still smile when we do. Start today by giving three genuine compliments...

Why is it difficult to give a compliment or say 'thank you'
We may find it difficult to give a compliment if it is laced with envy for something that person has, is or does.
We find it difficult to compliment someone if we feel as if we are complimenting them for something they 'should' be doing anyway. Our lack of self esteem and fear of loosing someone may stop us from giving compliments and thus feeding their confidence.

Why giving compliments helps ourselves and those closest to us
If we feel envious our emotions are telling us that another person has something that we would like to have, be or experience. Give the compliment and make the other person feel good while affirming to yourself and the universe what it is you want. Start to take the necessary steps to achieve it.

Even if you believe that a person 'should' be doing something, the fact that they are gives you an opportunity to show your appreciation. When you feel appreciated by a person you want to do more for that person. Show your gratitude and watch as the number of things you have to be grateful for grows.

Ironically giving compliments develops our confidence-we feel good as we help other people to feel good. If you want to develop your self esteem the fastest way to do it is to help improve someone else's.

Imagine a strip of velcro. Any negative comments you hear about yourself slide off the non-sticky side, and all of those positive compliments that you are given stick onto the velcro and stay with you.

To develop your self esteem and confidence further book onto a 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway' workshop for more details visit

Author's Bio: 

Lucy Pemberton-Platt is a Personal Wellness and Weight Loss Coach, Licensed Trainer of 'Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway' and a Writer.