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Accepting Compliments

confident-child Self Esteem in Kids
Learn how to accept compliments with grace.

The ability to accept a compliment is a social grace that should be cultivated. It is so simple to thank a person for a compliment, yet it is amazing when you consider that most of us are not very good at accepting compliments, and often answer compliments by selling ourselves short. 

"That's a lovely dress you're wearing!"
"Really? I don't like the colour too much."
"I love your haircut."
"Oh no! My hairdresser cut off too much! I just wanted him to cut an inch, and he's ruined it! I hate it!" 

By doing this, we give the message that the complimenter is being insincere or that he doesn't really know what he's talking about. 

On the other hand, you may be tempted to give a smart aleck response to a compliment. 
"Wow, your bangles are beautiful!"
"I know they are!" 
"I love your top!"
"Of course! Everybody does! I have great taste!"

You probably think that by answering in this manner you are being witty or funny. But in reality, you are only throwing the compliment back in the face of the complimenter. Think about it. The person saw something nice in you, and wanted to make you feel good by complimenting you. But giving an arrogant response, trying to make light of the matter or making a joke, shows that you are either not comfortable receiving a compliment, or that you don't really care about the opinion of the person complimenting you. 

Why are we uncomfortable accepting compliments? One of the most common reasons is that we genuinely believe that we are not deserving of the compliment. If you have finished a painting but the painting has a few flaws visible to you, you may be tempted to point out those flaws when someone compliments you on the painting. Resist the temptation, smile and thank the person instead. Say something like, "I took a long time over this painting, and I did hope it would turn out to be nice." 

Similarly, if someone tells you that your dress is looking nice, don't say "Oh this old rag? I was thinking of giving it away because I don't like it." Maybe you were indeed thinking of giving it away, but obviously the person who complimented you, did so because they thought it was looking nice on you, and didn't know how old your dress is. Instead, say something like, "Thank you. It is old now, but I still love it. I have always felt that this colour suits me."  

In this manner, you are acknowledging the compliment, thanking the person for complimenting you, and subtly sending across the message that the complimenter is clever and astute for recognizing that a particular colour or style looks good on you. 

Certain compliments may make us suspicious and we begin to wonder if the person complimenting us has any ulterior motive. At times we may be tempted to refute compliments because we find them insincere. But just because we haven't considered a particular aspect of our dress or personality to be appealing, doesn't mean no one else considers it to be so. 

It is best to discount all these suspicions and negative emotions, and take compliments at face value. If someone compliments you, don't squirm. Look them in the eye, smile, and say thank you. Once you have done this a few times, you could add a line of appreciation for the compliment, such as, "When I first bought this I wasn't sure if I made the right choice, so every time someone compliments me, I feel so much better!" 

It goes without saying that a statement of appreciation comes easier if it is genuine, and with practice. You may feel awkward at first, but gradually accepting compliments with grace will become second nature to you. 

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