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  5 Ways to Take a Compliment
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5 Ways to Take a Compliment

It's time to embrace the praise you deserve

Madonna Diaz-Refugia

Like a warm hug or a lovely summer day, compliments are supposed to feel good. Researchers have found that receiving compliments activates the striatum part of the brain. This is the same part of your brain that lights up when receiving a monetary award. Sounds great, right? Then why is it still so difficult to accept a compliment when it is given to us? 

Separate research has also shown that humans have the propensity to dwell on negativity and failure. So, how do you avoid the awkwardness often connected with compliments and just accept the kind words being offered? Here are five easy ways to quiet your inner critic and help you accept the praise you deserve. 

Practice Praising Yourself

One way to start preparing yourself to take compliments better is to quiet the voice that tells you you don’t deserve the praise in the first place. To do this, choose a positive affirmation or two, or three—there’s no limit on feel-good affirmations! And say these affirmations to yourself in the mirror.

Some deliciously affirming things you can say to yourself include:

  • I am enough.
  • I am smart and intelligent.
  • I deserve to love myself.
  • I’m getting stronger every day.
  • I am worthy of good things.

Repeat these phrases to yourself until you feel those negative self-thoughts start to float away. Don’t be surprised if this takes more than one try. You’re retraining your mind and that will take some time.

Don’t Start a Praise-Off

While it may seem like the nicest thing to say at the time, redirecting someone’s compliment by complimenting them back is just another way of not accepting their praise. It is also an easy way to get into a praise-off spiral if neither party can stop complimenting the other—and let’s face it, you’ve both got places to be. When receiving praise, make sure to take a moment to hear and absorb the compliment, then acknowledge it accordingly.

Say “Thank You”

So how do you acknowledge praise when it is given to you? Start a gratitude bank of words and phrases you can automatically say when you receive a compliment. Here are some examples of phrases you can use:

  • “You’re so kind, thank you.”
  • “You just made my day. Thank you.”
  • “I appreciate you saying so.”
  • “That means so much, thanks.”
  • “Thank you for noticing.”

Don’t Refute the Compliment

Have you ever tried complimenting someone only for them to deny and reject the compliment?  So awkward, right? Instead of downplaying the praise, try complimenting the praise itself and say something like, “Thanks for saying that. You’re always so nice!” 

And, under no circumstances, should you interrupt the compliment as it is being given to you. Be an active listener and take a beat to hear that wonderful praise.

Celebrate the Little Things

Start acknowledging your triumphs no matter how big or small by tracking them every day. Make a list of all of your wins; whether it’s flossing, doing laundry, or hitting a deadline at work. Pump yourself up by recognizing these moments of overcoming difficulty. In doing so, you’ll also strengthen your ability to accept and believe a compliment. 

The next time you accomplish something awesome and the compliments start pouring in, remember these helpful tips for accepting praise, because you deserve to be complimented.


Madonna Diaz-Refugia is a writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Their work has been featured on Reductress, WFMU and Elite Daily. Follow them on Twitter.

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