The Humble Girl’s Guide to Accepting a F**king Compliment
For a girl whose Love Language is “words of affirmation,” and who so needily requires her BF to constantly remind her how much he loves her, how beautiful he thinks she is, and also how smart, funny, and totally talented she is at cooking bacon, I f**king suck at accepting a compliment.
Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating about the neediness part (not about the cooking bacon part, though — I am really good at that). But my point is that while I love to receive a compliment, the words lose their power because instead of accepting them, I deflect, downplay, or reject them altogether.
Just the other day, I was doing something important like trying to take a selfie and subsequently feeling pretty bad about myself because the lighting and the lines on my forehead just could not, would not get along. When my boyfriend tuned into the situation, he sidled on over to me, put his arms around my shoulders, and said something along the lines of, “babe, you’re beautiful,” to which I responded with something along the lines of, “no...I’M A MONSTER.” (Even self-proclaimed self-love gurus have bad body image days.)
Instead of letting my BF’s words sink in and really feeling the power, sentiment, and love behind them, I immediately dismissed them. They became wasted syllables before they ever got their chance to shine.
Now, gawd bless my boyfriend, who will likely continue complimenting me whether I hear him or not, this isn’t an isolated incident or something that just happens within the constraints of my own romantic relationship. It happens out in the real world, as well. In the office. At home with my family. Over email with clients, and on social media. It happens with perfect strangers and best friends, bosses, and colleagues, and boys in bars. And it’s not just me. I notice my friends doing it, too. I notice it from the targets of my own well-intentioned dishing of compliments.
Perhaps it’s an act of humility. And if that's the case, bravo to you, babe. However, I have a more unsettling feeling; a sneaky little suspicion that perhaps the true cause of dodging compliments like they're your ex's new GF has less to do with being humble and more to do with a skewed sense of self-worth. I have ample reasons to believe — from my own experiences — that the deflection, deference, and/or rejection of a compliment, might actually be rooted in a lack of self-love.
There’s a difference between being humble and knowing your worth.
Think about it. Do you accept compliments or, do you deflect and defer? Sometimes we feel uneasy, uncomfortable, and even self-conscious when given a compliment. We feel unworthy, or that inner mean girl of ours pipes up with a one-liner that knocks us off our compliment pedestal. So we defect to learned coping mechanisms masked as humility.
We try to one-up the complimenter’s compliment.
Complimenter: I love your outfit!
You: This old thing? I love your outfit!
Or we downplay the excitement when we should be basking in it.
Complimenter: Congrats on your new job!
You: Oh...thanks, it’s no big deal, though. Anyone could have gotten it.
Or we reject the compliment altogether.
Complimenter: You have the best hair!
You: No I don’t, I hate my hair.
We use these common tactics to take the attention off of ourselves and place it upon someone else. Because sometimes, we *forget* our qualities are worth admiring. And sometimes, we feel uncomfortable owning our own greatness. But when it comes to receiving a compliment, gracefully and graciously, it’s all about self-love.
Ready for the one and only step in the humble girl’s guide to accepting a f**king compliment?
Just say “thank you.”
Even if you don’t believe them.
Even if you want to hide.
Even if you think they’re bat-shit crazy for thinking you’re incredible — just say thank you.
The next time someone dishes you a compliment, pause, and accept graciously, fully knowing that you are one thousand percent worthy.
With self-love, self-acceptance, and a little bit of practice, eventually, you will realize how incredible you truly are.
Like this? Then you’ll LOVE Love Bomb Bootcamp. Seriously. Check it out.