- Have you ever felt uncomfortable after getting a compliment?
- Do praises make you feel guilty, strange, or as if you ought to respond with something nice?
- Instead of a simple “thank you,” do you answer to compliments with “no, that’s not true” or “yeah, but…”
If you answered yes to any of the questions, this post is for you.
There are two basic reasons why women find it difficult to accept compliments. Culture and self-esteem
I already discussed the importance of self-esteem in my 5 keys to being elegant. Now, I discovered a psychology article today that gets the crux of this problem by stating that how responsive you are to compliments might be a reflection of your self-esteem and emotions of self-worth.
When you get a praise, it contradicts your negative self-image and makes you uncomfortable. I believe it is not just because you find the praises startling and unauthentic, but also because you believe you have unwittingly duped that person into thinking you are better than you truly are. This causes a sense of humiliation. Instead of saying “thank you,” you remark “that’s not actually true” or “I’m not really excellent at it, it only seems to be.”
Not everyone who feels awkward accepting praises has poor self-esteem. Sometimes I believe it has to do with a desire to be modest.
When you get a praise for something you did well or for your attractiveness, even though you know you did it well and that you are lovely, you refuse to take the remark because you fear it will make you seem pretentious and full of oneself (after all we are thought not to blot about our successes or act as if we are better than others). Instead of saying “thank you,” you say something like “yes, but I was lucky” or “it must be because I put on extra makeup today.”
I’m certain I can. I’m sure I’ve had a taste of both. Sometimes I believe people think I’m better than I am, which makes praises seem like falsehoods. I don’t consider these falsehoods to be theirs; I consider them to be mine. In my mind, I believe I must have done something to make them believe the lie that I am perfect.
However, I am more concerned with the cultural problem. I experienced a lot of success early in life, particularly in my work. I am aware of this, and I am also aware that it is the result of my own hard work and resourcefulness, but I continue to frame it as luck, as if I did nothing and someone just came along and handed me these opportunities. While I did make some difficult decisions, I also created my own opportunities, and I am honestly proud of how far that has taken me. However, when someone says to me, “I wish I had your determination and drive,” or “you have done very well for yourself,” I tend to downplay my own role in my success and say, “I have been very lucky,” or “it’s all about luck and timing,” and so on.
Why? Because, while I am content with my own success, I believe we live in a world where another person’s success is interpreted as one’s own failure. And confident and successful women are more likely than confident and successful men to appear pompous and full of themselves. As a result, I often hesitate to say “thank you” when someone recognizes my efforts.
So, ladies, the next time you receive a compliment, don’t downplay your beauty, brilliance, or accomplishments. It doesn’t have to be any more difficult than that.
And to get you more comfortable receiving compliments, I want to share this article by Madly in Love With Me where they share a 3 step process of being better at receiving (not only compliments).