What We Should Do When Someone Gives Us a Compliment

mindfulness, compliments, meditation, self-love

One morning a few years ago, a man who worked in the same building as me told me that I looked pretty. Never having been particularly good with receiving compliments, I responded with one of my typical, intentionally light, flippant, deflecting remarks: “Thanks, I washed my hair.” I smiled and laughed and hoped that my seemingly casual tone would mask my underlying discomfort. ⠀

Later that day, I reflected on my response, trying to understand why I couldn’t have just said “thank you.” Why it felt so difficult for me to simply say “thank you.” It was a tendency I’d been aware of for a while. I also resolved, within the space of my reflections, to try. I decided to train myself to graciously accept a compliment. To be able to graciously receive a compliment.⠀

I don’t know why it can feel so difficult to accept compliments, but we should want to be able to do it. Compliments are little, sparkling, magical, generous gifts. Someone is gifting us a precious gift. A light, billowy bundle of warm-hearted kindness.⠀

To be honest, I still sometimes don’t know what to do with myself when someone says something kind to me—there’s still a part of me that wants to respond with some witty or self-deprecating remark. But I refrain. Or, I try to refrain. I breathe, and I smile. I soften around the urge and simply say “thank you.”⠀

I don’t know if you’re like me. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you’ve always smoothly, effortlessly been able to accept compliments. If you are, that’s also a gift. A beautiful, wondrous gift.⠀

In the chance that you’re not...in the chance that you struggle...maybe just try. The next time someone gives you a compliment, instead of making a joke or saying something self-deprecating, don’t. Just don’t. Stop. Pause. Soften around the urge, smile, and simply say “thank you.”