When someone extends a compliment does your gut recoil? Does some part of you panic and search desperately for a place to hide? Is your response to stammer denials and a discounting of the compliment? This is one of the very few times it may be wise to question your gut.
Blah, blah, blah, we all have our rich tapestries of reasons, hurts, etc. why our self-esteems won’t allow us to graciously accept a compliment. At some point the why of our emotional stuff becomes irrelevant. It is time to implement new habits.
What if a way to get over all that was to simply practice accepting a compliment? What if every compliment was an opportunity to rewire that part of your self-perception?
If a compliment feels uncomfortable it is contradicting a dearly held self-perception. What if this person extending the compliment is capable of seeing a dimension of you that you are not able to see?
Thanks to the wonderful plasticity of our brains we can rewire long held beliefs by interrupting and redirecting a habitual thought. If you are in the habit of thinking you suck, are ugly, (insert your favorite negative loop here) and you receive a compliment contradicting that habitual thought you have two choices.
Choice 1: Continue & Reinforce the Negative Self Perception by countering or dismissing the compliment. Notice how arguing against the compliment is a very effective strategy to avoid actually listening to what the person is saying?
Choice 2: Interrupt & Rewire the Negative Thought. Watch what happens when you simply say, “Thank you” instead of arguing with someone trying to pay you a compliment. Yes, it will feel horribly uncomfortable at first. Yes, all your counter arguments will fill your mind. I dare you from now on to simply say, “Thank you” and zip it.
Finding this really hard to even try? Here are a couple of ways to sneak this idea past the guardians of the inner temple of unworthiness.
Don’t be a dork. Have you ever noticed how awkward it gets when you give someone a compliment and they try to dodge it? Yeah, don’t be that dork.
It’s just rude. Think about it, this person is basically offering you a gift. They are extending a genuine kindness. Are you really going to just bat it aside? Dismiss and discount their viewpoint?
Remember when you were a kid? What where you taught when someone gives you a gift? You accept it graciously and say Thank You.