Can’t accept compliments?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Compliments are like gifts.
Photo courtesy of

There may be reasons why you find it hard to accept compliments.

If you find it hard to accept compliments there may well be two principle reasons why you just do not believe people when they give you one. There may be something suspicious about the person giving the compliment or it may be about you.

Do you wish you could believe a “good job” well done or ever just congratulations? Were you taught you were supposed to be perfect?

Were you taught you didn’t deserve a compliment?

If you grew up in a non-affirming home, if you were constantly criticized, you may have developed “low self-esteem.” Low self-esteem stems mostly from excessive judging of one’s self. People who are criticized but never given praise can begin to think that their worth depends on them getting everything right. They need to be perfect.

Since we know that we are not perfect we can easily dismiss praise believing that this can’t be true. People with low self-esteem have difficulty giving themselves credit for things done well. The result is they never believe praise when they get it.

Compliments make you feel attacked.

The only time some people remember hearing a compliment was those back-handed sarcastic kinds. From an early age, you may have learned that what might at first glance sound like a compliment was, in fact, a disguised attack. This will leave a legacy of making you distrust all the compliments you receive.

Too many compliments don’t feel genuine.

People who hand out compliments freely, complimenting others even when there is no reason to hand one out make us all suspicious. Flatters know that if they can spread around the compliments, butter you up, if you will, then they will have less difficulty slipping something by you.

Researchers find that most of us find it easier to take a compliment from someone who also occasionally points out a fault. If the other person sees your mistakes but gives you a compliment anyway it is much easier to believe that they are being honest in both rather than strewing compliments in your way in an effort to manipulate you.

Give yourself credit when you deserve it.

The first step in being able to accept compliments from others is beginning to give yourself credit and not dismiss your own accomplishments. Once you can accept your own opinion that you have accomplished something it becomes easier to accept other’s compliments.

If you are dependent on others for that feeling of “well done”, you may never get enough sincere praise to meet that need and may always distrust other’s positive statements about you.

So if you find it hard to take a compliment, consider what a real true friend might say about you and begin to acknowledge to yourself when you do something correctly. Give yourself compliments and they will feel natural when offered by others.

When someone does offer you a compliment accept it with a simple “thanks.” No need to belittle the compliment with a statement like “it was no big deal.”

Watch others behaving and try to give out sincere compliments when others do something worth praising.

Keep practicing and soon you will be giving and receiving compliments because you know you and others are worth it.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!

My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.

Story Bureau.

Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.

Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.

As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.

Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?

Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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