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Taking Compliments in Stride

Accept Compliments More Graciously

Compliments are a simple way to help each other feel better by acknowledging our accomplishments and positive qualities. If receiving praise sometimes make you uncomfortable, think about the benefits of being appreciated and learn to respond graciously.

The Benefits of Exchanging Compliments

1. Provide validation. In the crush of daily pressures, it's common for people to feel unnoticed. A word of commendation shows that we matter and that our efforts make a difference. Become more observant and practice with letting others know what you like about them. You'll instantly feel happier and probably get more kudos yourself soon.

2. Get feedback. Input from others provides important data for letting us know if we're headed in the right direction. If your boss loved your last status report, you know what to do with your next one. If your church newsletter features you as volunteer of the month, you know you're spending your time in ways that matter to them.

3. Improve each other's lives. Kind words and respect make us mindful of how much we need each other. Take time to share a little applause.

General Suggestions for Receiving Compliments

1. Express gratitude. Whatever the wording, you want to say thank you when someone pays you a compliment. You may keep it as simple as that or refer to your own gratification in making a contribution.

2. Resist the urge to downplay. Forget about minimizing your abilities. It can make you feel less confident and it might make the other person feel like you fail to value their opinion.

3. Keep it brief. If you're already in the habit of deflecting compliments, the safest course of action is to keep your responses concise. Just say thank you and leave it at that. Long speeches could get you off track.

4. Pay it forward. If a compliment leaves you glowing, reach out to others to pass it along. Tell your kids they did a good job cleaning their room or tell a local retailer you like their new store window.

5. Monitor your body language. Ensure your face matches your words. Smile and maintain eye contact when accepting praise. Keep your body language open and inviting. Lower your shoulders and uncross your arms.

Suggestions for Receiving Compliments in Specific Circumstances

1. Recognize gender differences. Everyone can experience discomfort with compliments, but it's usually more pervasive with women. Learn to distinguish between healthy humility and putting yourself down.

2. Focus on inner beauty. Even when you mean well, some people may be sensitive about their physical appearance or other issues. In some environments like the workplace, it's usually safer to address how they perform rather than how they look.

3. Share the credit. When teamwork is involved, include your colleagues in the tribute. Point out the specific contributions that others made to bringing about any success.

4. Know the protocol for toasts. When someone raises a glass to you, it's proper to remain attentive and smile while the rest of the group drinks. You get to drink when you follow up by offering a return toast.

5. Stay up to date with social media. These days, people may be saying good things about you in the digital world too. Keep up with Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Offer prompt and heartfelt thanks the same as you would at home or in the office.

Let compliments lift your spirits and brighten your day. Giving and receiving praise helps to guide us towards our goals and strengthens our relationships along the way. When someone says something nice, thank them sincerely and remember you deserve it.

READ ALOUD Affirmation: I take compliments in stride

It is wonderful to hear others say nice things about me, but I avoid feeling overwhelmed. I take compliments in stride. This attitude prevents me from becoming too self-centered.

When someone tells me that I am beautiful, I express thanks for the kind words and move on. I spend very little time focusing on physical beauty. Instead, I groom myself spiritually, so what is on the inside shines through.

Humility is one of my most treasured attributes. It teaches me that even when I am victorious, it is through a combination of hard work and blessings.

I avoid getting caught up in my own accomplishments, even when others are congratulating me. There is a higher purpose to my existence than personal fulfillment. My life’s purpose is to serve others and cater to their well-being.

When my boss applauds me for a job well done, I express gratitude. Then, it is back to work. Most of my time is focused on my consistency as a hardworking person.

Developing positive attributes gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than hearing someone compliment me. I appreciate the chances I get to build my character and be an upstanding member of society.

I use compliments to reinforce that things are going well with my soul. My belief is that my inner self determines what I am able to give to the world.

Today, celebrating my life and achievements is my priority because they are rooted in positivity. I embrace kind words from others as an indication that I am on the right path to building a strong and kind soul.


Self-Reflection Questions:

Sometimes it is difficult to accept compliments when we don’t recognize our own value and worth. The following questions will help you begin to internalize the positive statements you receive from others.

  1. Write about a compliment you received over the past few weeks or months that you had trouble accepting.

  2. What was your response? What were your thoughts about it?

  3. Is the statement true? Is there any part of it that is true? If not, why not?

  4. Think about the statement again. Find something in the comment that you can agree with and write about that.

  5. Why do you find it difficult to believe this about yourself?

  6. Can you find a way to take in the positive?

How Giving More Compliments Helps

Giving compliments is one of the most effective ways to become more skillful at accepting them yourself. That’s because you gain experience from watching how people respond to your praise. You’ll also increase the number of compliments you receive, so you’ll lift your spirits and create a warmer environment.

Use these strategies to give praise like a pro:

1. Be genuine. Authenticity matters most. Look for the good qualities in others that you admire and want to recognize. If your intentions are honorable, people will usually welcome your sincerity.

2. Pick something specific. It’s nice to tell someone that they’re a valued employee or that their home looks lovely. It’s even better to pinpoint exactly what you like about them. Rave about how they cut travel expenses by a third last quarter or how skillfully they sponge painted the walls in their bathroom.

3. Think creatively. A yoga instructor probably knows she’s flexible. She may smile more broadly if you notice how she makes newcomers feel at home.

4. Act quickly. Compliments may have a greater impact when you deliver them promptly. Let your grandmother know immediately how much you like the sweater she sent you. You’ll also be training yourself to speak up before doubts can set it in.

5. Gush a little. Feel free to go a bit overboard. A lot of cooks will be happy to invite back the dinner guest who says your eggplant parmesan reminds them of Parma.

6. Write it down. Praise lasts longer when you put it in writing. Send emails and greeting cards.

7. Go public. Assemble a wider audience when appropriate. Use a staff meeting to thank the staff accountant who simplified the forms for timesheets and travel expenses. Mention your spouse’s promotion the next time you get together for dinner with friends.

Spread good news. You can also make use of compliments that you hear others making. Your best friend will probably be delighted if you pass along flattering remarks from your children who like her ghost stories.


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