Why Don’t We Accept a Compliment?

Getting a compliment

The other day I was at the pool and saw an older woman swimming. I noticed that she was swimming faster than my speed sets. When I was finished with my workout, I looked at her and said, “Wow, you are a good swimmer!”

She thanked me but told me she was not. “I need to get a lot faster but since I’m old, I will never go any faster.”

I said that’s not true. “If you want to go faster, you can,” I said. “You may need to do some speed sets but you can do it.”

She shook her head. “No, I’m afraid I’m not good enough.”

That made me feel sad.

How should take a compliment?

  1. Say “thank you” —  The simplest and most effective way to take a compliment is to say “thank you.” This shows that you appreciate the compliment and the person who gave it to you.
  2. Smile — A smile goes a long way in showing that you’re happy and grateful for the compliment.
  3. Don’t deflect — Avoid deflecting or downplaying the compliment. This can make the person giving the compliment feel like their words are not valued. (And in my case, make the person who gave the compliment feel bad about saying anything.)
  4. Be sincere — If you’re genuinely grateful for the compliment, express it in your tone of voice and body language. This shows that you’re not just saying “thank you” out of politeness.
  5. Accept the compliment — Acknowledge the compliment and try to internalize it. You don’t have to agree with it completely, but don’t reject it outright.
  6. Pay it forward — If you feel comfortable, you can compliment the person back. This creates a positive and uplifting interaction that can benefit both parties.

Remember that taking a compliment is an opportunity to connect with others and build positive relationships. By accepting compliments graciously, you can show that you value and appreciate the people around you.