SELF CARE - Episode 1: Reasons to always take a compliment

Welcome to the inaugural episode of my new video series on self care! 

I don't know about you, but I define self care as anything that makes you feel better. (And I mean actually feeling better, not just feeling numb or feeling less or feeling distracted.) In this video series I will share tips and tricks I have learned as a life coach that can help you in your quest to be awesome to yourself. 

Episode 1: The reason why always accepting the compliments that are given to you is so important. (And easy.)

You can watch the video, or if you'd prefer you can read an alternate version below. Either way - start accepting those compliments! 

It seems easy enough. Someone comes up to you and says something nice. You say something nice back. You part, both feeling pretty great about it.

One of the quirks of being a human though, is our fantastic ability to complicate the easy stuff.

So instead of politely accepting the compliment, thanking the giver for being so kind, we try to be so polite that instead we end up arguing with them. 

Lesson #1: Arguing with someone about why you aren’t as good as they think you are is not self care. Nor is it polite. It also isn’t modest, or funny, or respectful. You might think you are just being honest, or pleasantly self-deprecating, but from their perspective, all you are doing is telling them why you don’t respect their opinion, and why they should never bother complimenting you again.

It isn’t pretty.

Luckily, it is exceedingly simple to avoid turning a nice moment into an awkward one. 

Step One: Smile.

Step Two: Say, “Thank you so much.”

Step Three: There is no step three. You are already done. The end.

If you want to be a fancy pants and add a flourish, you can.

“What a nice thing to say. Thank you, I really appreciate hearing that.”

But keep your comments focused on saying thank you, not focused on the merits (or your perceived lack of merit) of the compliment.

They gave you a gift of their compliment, so give them back a gift of your own - let them hear how you appreciate their gesture.

If you don’t believe the compliment, your brain is going to have conniptions about this, and will desperately try to compel you to undermine and sabotage the compliment, and yourself, by trying to get the other person to understand how they were wrong. Your brain will spin it as “honesty”, trying to guilt you into “taking responsibility” for not being worthy of the compliment. It will try to trick you into saying more than than just “thank you”, and usually with a sentence that begins with “But”.

“Thank you so much, but I didn’t really didn’t do that much.”

“Thank you so much, but anyone would have done the same thing.”

“Thank you so much, but we both know you did all the hard work.”

“Thank you so much, but this shirt is ten years old, I just wore it because everything else was dirty.”

Do not fall for this trick! These “but” statements do not serve you, nor do they respect the person who gave you the compliment. 

Yes, our brains can be pretty jerky to us sometimes. But once you realize that fact, it gets easier to work around.

So if you are someone who has difficulty accepting a compliment, make is easy on yourself, and keep it simple. Smile, say thank you, and then just close your mouth, no matter what your brain says.

Now I know some of you are still squirming at the idea of accepting a compliment that the jerk part of your brain is just certain you don’t deserve, so here is a trick for you too.

Instead of thanking them for the compliment, thank them for giving you the compliment!

“What a nice compliment, I really appreciate your kindness.”

“Thank you for saying that, you are always so nice to me.”

This response avoids the argument over whether you agree with the compliment or not, and still is gracious to your complimentor. You aren’t exactly taking responsibility for the compliment, which as I life coach I would really encourage you to do because it is excellent self care. But if you need a baby step to start with, it can ease your discomfort with the compliment, and you are still showing a kindness to the person who took the time to compliment you. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. 

As author Maya Angelou once said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Give people the opportunity to feel great - and appreciated - when they are with you.

My nefarious ulterior motive with this is simple. Once you start accepting compliments, not only will people enjoy giving them to you, but also, your jerky brain just might come around and start believing them. Win-win, folks, win-win.


Accept every single compliment you are given this week. Pay attention to your jerk brain and how it wants you to argue - but don't give in! Notice how it seems to make the other person feel when you thank them graciously. And then see how you feel afterwards, knowing how considerate you were of the other person. 

You got this. 

Self Care Episode 1