Don’t return the compliments.

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


Complements are like gifts.
Photo courtesy of

Is it hard for you to accept compliments?

Learn to accept compliments. Are you one of those people who are uncomfortable with compliments? If you turn every compliment away with an “it’s no big deal,” you’re harming your relationships. Learning proper compliments etiquette will improve your relationships.

Problems accepting complements may have begun in childhood. Many people received few compliments and childhood. Parents used to think that complimenting a child could lead to “a big head” and the lack of modesty. If you never received any recognition in childhood for what you did well, it may be uncomfortable to accept compliments.

Telling people how wonderful they are in the absence of any real accomplishment may result in distorted self-esteem. If you’ve done something worthwhile, being recognized and recognizing yourself for positive accomplishments, is an earned reward, and not likely to result in an overlarge ego. Below are some reasons that you need to become comfortable accepting compliments.

Compliments are gifts.

Think of compliments as gifts. Dismissing them does not make you more modest or humble. If you return every gift people give you, they will stop giving those gifts to you. If you return every compliment with a no thank you, people will get their feelings hurt. Learn to accept compliments with a simple “thank you.” Being gracious in giving and receiving compliments improves relationships.

Never receiving thankyou’s, makes you feel unappreciated.

If you keep doing for others, but they don’t appreciate what you do, you’re likely to become resentful. One way people show appreciation is by saying thank you. If you habitually reject compliments, you train others to take you for granted. Appreciation works in both directions, learn to thank and compliment others and learn to accept their appreciation.

One reason you can’t accept compliments is you never give yourself any.

Learn to recognize when you have done something positive. Do not dismiss your achievements. When you minimize what, you do you run the risk of minimizing what others do. Don’t become one of those people who is never satisfied. People who are stingy with self-recognition often find it hard to recognize what others do for them.

What you say to yourself, self-talk is powerful. Telling yourself what you did was no big deal makes you feel small and helpless. Telling yourself “you did that good,” improves your self-esteem and your ability to tackle additional challenges.

Positive compliments to give yourself:

Here are some compliments, sometimes called affirmations, you can practice. How many other positive self-statements can you create?

“I’m a worthwhile person.”

“I am grateful for what makes me unique.”

“I respect my individual talents and passions by using them to benefit others.”

“I’m doing the best I can, and I am enough just as I am.”

“I teach others to respect and believe in me by believing in myself.”

“Each day I am working towards becoming the best possible me.”

Practice the art of giving and receiving compliments and make the world a happier and more appreciative place.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

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.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

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

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

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