Why does it seem that it is often so hard to take a compliment. Consider this, you spend hours of your own personal time on a special project for your company. Or perhaps a project for your child’s little league team. Or a charity organization. you stay up late, work weekends, and give up precious family time to ensure your efforts are successful. You have worked hard, sacrificed and it has paid off.
The projects complete and you proudly turn it in. Your supervisor, coach, or peers review the project and begin to rave about the results. They even notice the detail (which you were afraid might be overlooked). They bring in other people to admire your efforts and your finished project, and talk about how it came out better than expected.
Your response: “Oh, it was no big deal.” Or “It wasn’t as hard as it looked.” Or “It was nothing.” Sometimes you even doubly minimize your effort by saying, “Someone could have probably done it better”.
Is that’s what you think of your abilities? You think your talents, determination, and hard work is “nothing?”This is not modesty or a polite dose of humility. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Responses like these can have a devastating impact on your self-esteem and the way other people view you. When you downplay or minimize your contributions, so will others.
These kinds of responses are subconscious “reduction” statements. They reduce your opinion of your own work. They reduce the effectiveness of your work. And, they set the foundation for future reduction of every effort you put forth.As members of this human race, we all want to be acknowledged and recognized for who we are and the contributions we make to our world. The simple act of not accepting a compliment undermines the basic needs of all humankind – to love and to be loved. We all want to be accepted. It’s hurtful to all of us to dismiss or ignore a compliment genuinely given.
Enrich and deepen the positive effect we have on one another by making the deliberate decision to celebrate your contributions and achievements and graciously accept compliments. This simple act of acceptance builds your own self-esteem while supporting the need we all have to belong.
What you have to offer is incredible, unique, and fantastic! If you want others to view you this way, you must begin viewing yourself this way first. In all the world, there is no one like you. And your accomplishments are worth praising. This is not bragging or arrogance. It’s confidence and appreciation. There is a profound difference.
It’s entirely possible to accept a compliment, allow others to appreciate your work and feel proud about your contributions without sounding arrogant.
And when all else fails, just say, “Thank you.”
Accepting compliments builds your confidence and allows you to recognize your worth in this complicated journey we call life. No matter how many cheerleaders you may have in your corner, at times in your life you will be alone (a new job, a new city, a new time of your life). The confidence you build will travel very well to anywhere you want to go… actually, it will probably lead you there.
How to take a Compliment …Graciously.
“I wanted it to be the best it could be.”
“I knew this was important and needed the extra attention.”
“I wanted to get this just right because I know it was important.”
“I spend some extra time on this because I wanted to represent our company well.”
“I’m glad you like it. I worked hard on it.”
“I know it’s good.”
“Of course you like it, I’m that good.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know it’s great.”
“I could have done it in my sleep.”
“I’m just getting warmed up… wait ‘till next time.