Reader Challenge

Positivity Challenge Week 10: Accepting Compliments

Spring is just around the corner. In most places, the weather is brightening up, clocks just changed (or will in a few weeks), and we’re well on our way out of the winter doldrums. For the first couple of months, I’ve focused a lot on how to react positively to negatives around you”¦ now it’s time to start turning that positivity on ourselves. The first step to doing that: learning how to accept compliments.

I’m not really sure why I, along with many other people I know, find it so hard to take compliments. Whether it’s fear of appearing arrogant, uneasiness with complimenting back, or just a genuine disbelief in what you’re being complimented on, the urge to talk down the compliment is strong. But shutting out the good things others think of you can be seriously detrimental to your emotional well-being. Since we’ve already mastered the art of the Drive-By Compliment, it’s time we master the art of gracefully accepting compliments ourselves.

A text graphic with "Thank You" written in a variety of languages.
(Image: thank you note for every language, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wwworks's photostream)
  • The first step in learning to accept compliments – Just Say Thanks. When complimented, just say, “Thank You.” No matter what excuses for how you didn’t deserve that compliment come to mind, just say, “Thank You.” Providing reasons why the person who complimented you shouldn’t have is dismissive of what they thought was worth complimenting. Kinda rude, when you think about it.
  • Next, think about the compliment that was paid to you. Even if you don’t 100% agree with it, the person who said it to you thought it was worth complimenting. If they saw it inside you, others probably do, too… they just don’t tell you all the time.
  • Start internalizing the compliment. Look yourself in the mirror tomorrow and repeat the compliment to yourself. You’re awesome. Someone else saw it… let your self see it.
This Week’s Challenge

Take a compliment and internalize it: find one thing that’s awesome about yourself. Share in the comments below if you’d like so we can all celebrate your awesomeness, too.

This Week’s Mantra

A reminder for when you start forgetting: You are, actually, awesome.

 An image with the text: "You are, actually, awesome."

If you want a reminder of your mantra for the next week, feel free to click the image above to download the full size version suitable for desktop wallpapers, printing, or framing.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or mental health expert, and there are problems that positivity cannot overcome, so please do not take this advice in lieu of a doctor’s care.

Not all challenges will be relevant to everyone, so I welcome you to come and go as you please and take from each challenge what works for you! Please make sure to share your thoughts in the comments!

By Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses.

10 replies on “Positivity Challenge Week 10: Accepting Compliments”

I’ve been doing this for some three-four years now (just saying thank you instead of protesting) and looking back at the protesting realize how silly it is.
We have ears and brains, if a compliment isn’t meant you can very probably pick up on it. If it isn’t meant and/or sarcastic: ignore. Anything else: just say thank you.

I love this!

I’ve made an effort to accept compliments, but it’s more the ones that I agree with (that hit on something I’m proud of, I should say.) But it’s still REALLY hard for me to truly hear the ones that create cognitive dissonance in my mind. When people say something nice about an aspect of myself that I’m sensitive about or flat out don’t like, it’s much harder to not start in on the negative self-talk.

I agree, and of all the things I’ve written about, I think this (along with the “sorry” one) is the one I have the hardest time putting into practice. Even since starting to write these, I’ve had a lot of friends tell me how much they like them and how good a writer I think I am and my first thought is “I’m not that great… there are lots of people who do this better.” It’s only in the past couple of weeks when friends have been sharing the links before I post them that I’ve kind of felt like a real writer.

With the cognitive dissonance, I like to break down compliments into little parts that seem easier to believe. For example, being told I had beautiful hair: my first thought was oh, no, it’s just thrown back and I didn’t dry it properly and my bangs are growing out… but a couple days later, as I was thinking about what to do with those growing out bangs, I was thinking about whether to change the color. And I decided that no… my color was actually really nice. I may not like how straight it is or flat, but my color looks awesome and natural and pretty darn great. And, clearly, at least one other person thought so. Acknowledging that one aspect of a bigger compliment gave me a great boost.

I’m relatively new around here so I missed your one on apologizing (going to click it now!) but I am a HUGE advocate for stopping needless apologizing and I’ve blogged about it a time or two so I’m happy to hear someone else is on that band wagon. I’m also really big on letting go of obligations and the “shoulds”/”oughts.” (I love this series!)

I like the idea of breaking down the compliments that create cognitive dissonance…I’ll try that next time.

That’s great to hear. Everyone has their own challenges in being positive. Some people don’t really care about making a happy place or blocking out negative media, but maybe want to be more positive about themselves or others, so I definitely hope that readers are taking what’s useful to them when it’s useful.

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