Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Accepting compliments means accepting yourself

Receiving compliments wellHow well do you receive compliments? When someone comments favourably on something you have done or are wearing, or your new hair style, how do you usually respond?

Many of us seem programmed to bat away such compliments, with a dismissive remark such as “it was nothing really”, or “what, this old thing?”.  The effect of this can often be to shut down the complimenter and actually make us feel worse about ourselves – the exact opposite of the intended effect.

Why do we do this? It is seen as terribly un-British to accept compliments for fear we might become big-headed or arrogant. This seems especially so amongst west coast Scots.

I was at a wedding a few years ago, and was complimented a number of times on my dress. My response? To tell everyone that I got it for a few pounds in a local charity shop. I could just have smiled and said a gracious thank you to my complimenters. Partly, I was gleeful about my purchase as I love charity shops and how much more do I love a bargain. But on a deeper level, it was easier to deflect the attention away from myself and onto the unlikely provenance of said dress.

I read an interesting article on the psychology of receiving compliments recently in the free health and beauty magazine of a large, well known store. You can read the original here – it is a simple wee article, not rocket science, but it made me think. The link is made between learning how to receive compliments well and graciously, gaining self esteem, and becoming more generous in giving compliments. The Complimentee becomes a more willing Complimenter.

One observation I have made in my work as a life coach is that those who are least confident in themselves and least self-accepting find it hardest to receive compliments from others. Not a radical observation I know, but stay with me.

If you are not aware of your gifts, strengths and unique purpose, compliments might come as a surprise, and not sit well with you, and therefore be argued against.

If your self-esteem has taken a battering, the Complimenter is likely to be met with a verbal barrage of negative, self-deprecating remarks. The Complimenter’s motive is good – to build up the self esteem of the Complimentee. But it serves to have the opposite effect, and can drive complimenters away.

Those who struggle with addiction to The Comparisons Game – “I’m not as….as…./I wish I was more….like….” will deflect the compliment off themselves onto someone else, thus further entrenching their own negative self view.

This makes me sad.

Not because I am the pillar of self contentment and acceptance, and am brilliant at receiving compliments without having the ego the size of Cumbernauld.

But because I believe strongly and passionately that each of us is an amazing individual with a unique set of strengths, personality and purpose, and it is a joy to be able to affirm and encourage each other in this.

I met with a friend yesterday who is a very generous-hearted listener. Another friend tells fascinating and very engaging tales of life that I love to hear. Someone else makes me laugh like no-one else can. Another is very thoughtful at finding just the right gift.

These qualities about these precious friends are gifts that they uniquely give to those in their world. And I love to affirm and appreciate that, and to have them know how much they are valued. It can be as simple as that.

So how do we get there?

When you are not sure of what you are good at, what your strengths are, what your life achievement are and what your life experiences have taught you, how do you start to receive compliments well?

Well… I have a tool for that. It is called The 10 Things Challenge, and is a simple, and very freeing way to invest in yourself and gain more awareness and confidence.

You get to the end of the Challenge with hundreds of individual items on your lists that are all about yourself – imagine that! – but in an achievable, affirming way.

You gain a much clearer view of who you are and what you can do, so when someone compliments you on something you have done well, or an aspect of your character that they appreciate, it is easier to simply thank them. Your confidence grows, and you share more of that part of you with others.

Everyone wins. Yippee!

Imagine that for yourself – well you can do more than imagine it, you can take up the Challenge and find out more here.

Grow in your acceptance of yourself, receive compliments well, and have fun complimenting others!

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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