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5 Steps to Accepting Compliments Graciously
By Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach
Many creative artists are uncomfortable with praise and compliments. We can
be so busy judging ourselves harshly that we don't quite know what to do with
We almost wish people would just "come out and say it," "it" being
the negative thing that they're REALLY thinking, just to prove our negative
Instead, when we can learn how to embrace positive feedback and accept compliments
graciously, we open up the door for more positive thoughts and interactions,
and we actually start to BELIEVE them.
Then, when our inner critic starts up again, we can intentionally choose to
believe the POSITIVE messages we've been receiving.
Here are five steps towards accepting compliments graciously.
- Notice. Begin by noticing what you tend to say when someone gives you
a compliment. Do you minimize it by saying, "Oh, it was nothing",
do you argue with it by saying, "No, I don't look good, I look awful!" or
do you find yourself so uncomfortable that you're at a complete loss for
- Practice. You can learn to accept compliments more graciously. After
noticing what you tend to do now, decide how you'd like to respond the next
time you receive a compliment. Then, practice saying your new response (in
front of a mirror is best) until saying it feels natural and sincere.
to say? A warm and heartfelt, "thank you", coupled with
a smile, is always appropriate and is usually enough. Be cautious of feeling
the need to explain, justify, or return a compliment automatically.
- Pause. When someone pays you a compliment, stop before
you respond. This is where change happens — when we step out of autopilot
and try something different. Take a deep breath and remember your wish to
accept compliments more graciously.
- Turn your attention outwards. Focus on the person who's giving you the
compliment. Think about their intentions. Sometimes our inner critic tells
us stories about the person being sarcastic, having some kind of ulterior
motive or not truly meaning what they say. Instead, expect the best and act
on the assumption that the person is sincere.
Focus on being kind and courteous
to that person. If you make them feel good by accepting their compliment
with genuine appreciation, they'll remember that and speak up the next time
they have something positive to share with you.
Consequently, if you belittle
their words by arguing, minimizing or looking as if they've just insulted
you, they'll remember that as well.
- Try it from the other side. Another way to get better at accepting compliments
is to GIVE more compliments. Notice how other people receive them. This can
improve your relationships greatly, because now you'll be focused more on
the other person. As you're looking for positive things to compliment them
on, you'll also be keeping your thoughts more positive overall, and you'll
have less time for worrying and negative thinking. •
© Linda Dessau, 2006. 01/27/06
About the Author | More by Linda Dessau
Linda Dessau, the Self-Care Coach, helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. Feel like your creativity is blocked? Sign-up for the free e-course, "Roadblocks to Creativity" by visiting www.genuinecoaching.com.