Why We Can't Accept Compliments And What To Do About It

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Video: Why We Can't Accept Compliments And What To Do About It

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Video: How to Accept Compliments and Why It's So Hard 2023, January
Why We Can't Accept Compliments And What To Do About It
Why We Can't Accept Compliments And What To Do About It

“How thin you are! You look so beautiful,”a classmate, whom I hadn’t seen for 10 years, said, looking at me with admiration.

- “Thin? Yes, I would lose five kilograms and sleep, so that the circles under my eyes, the size of the globe, become a little smaller,”I answered, embarrassed. In full confidence that Natasha, who was teased by a Negro at school because of her dark skin color (nice to meet you, friends), was running into compliments, the former enemy and the gymnasium star continued to "sprinkle" them on my head, like the windshield wipers with salt. And I wanted her to shut up as soon as possible and proceed to the next part of the fascinating conversation - the story of who got married, who got divorced and how to live after thirty.

The inability to accept compliments and impostor syndrome is my everything. Even if I know that I am wearing the most beautiful dress, I do not want anyone to focus on this. At such moments, instead of "thank you", I hum something from the series "it's old" and try to change the subject. And this is not only my problem. Why don't many people know how to get compliments and what to do about it? Personal experience and a little bit of psychology.

Why are compliments needed?

Exchanging the "right" compliments is a good interpersonal game that, with the right approach, strengthens relationships and defuses the atmosphere. There are no losers in it - all sides are on a pedestal.

In psychology, a compliment is regarded as a form of praise and a way of expressing approval. It stimulates successful performance, increases endorphin levels and improves self-esteem. Again, if it is adequate for a person.


Founder of the method of transactional analysis and author of the book "Games People Play" Eric Berne introduced into psychology such a concept as "stroking". The doctor is sure that lack of attention from others has a detrimental effect on the psychological state of everyone and can lead to emotional or sensory deprivation.

One form of “stroking” is compliments. And this is not a typical politeness, but a vital necessity. Insufficient stimulation of the reticular tissue of the brain leads to irreversible changes in nerve cells - how do you like this turn? It turns out that each of us needs “stroking” no less than air. Then why don't we know how to react to them?

Why We Can't Take Compliments

The most common reason for not being able to accept compliments is low self-esteem. The person sincerely believes that everything said by the interlocutor has nothing to do with him. This is not coquetry, this is a sincere self-dislike, with which something urgently needs to be done.

“Reaction to a compliment is a reflection of such personal characteristics as experience, communication skill, self-esteem. If people with authority over us often call us stupid, the statement "you are smart" is perceived as a lie. This is a common cognitive conflict,”says psychologist Vladimir Pavlovsky.

At the same time, low self-esteem can only relate to certain areas of activity: "I am a genius in geometry, but physics is not mine at all!" And our task is to get rid of this “not mine”.

The second most popular reason is impostor syndrome. A psychological phenomenon in which a person is not able to adequately assess their achievements, writing it off as a coincidence. The reason for this may be the idealization of the child in the family or his constant comparison with others in childhood ("Why can Masha solve a problem, but you can't?").

The third, very commonplace, but no less important than the above is the inability to communicate. There are many reasons for this condition. This is a lack of socialization, and character traits, and a psychotype, and a basic distrust of the world.

The fourth reason is the most harmless - the usual distrust of the interlocutor or the dubious "quality" of the compliment. Most often, a negative reaction is caused by blatant flattery (negative compliments), which the interlocutor can use as a means of manipulation.

And yet the reason for the inability to perceive compliments can speak of an unconscious restriction on "stroking" - such a theory was expressed by the psychotherapist Claude Steiner.

Berne's pupil sees the reason for this in the parent-child relationship, when the latter use "carrot" (or stroking) as a means of social control. In this case, by the way, the problem is solved simply: found the cause - realized - eliminated.

Which option is yours? Mine is a mix of the first and fourth points. And if I'm not going to do anything with the fourth one, the first one needs to be worked out.

How to accept compliments correctly

Let's start with what, according to psychologists, should not be done: be embarrassed, try to argue, bashfully lower your eyes.

Your answer to "stroking" is only one: "Thank you, I am very pleased!" This is how I had to answer my former classmate, who sang my praises. Honored ones, by the way (hello to you, coach). But since "Zen is the most charming and attractive" has not yet been achieved, I had to object.

Be sure to smile at the interlocutor, otherwise he may find the response phrase on duty and not too polite. And also - look in the eyes, no matter how difficult it is.

And most importantly - do not think out for the interlocutor. Moreover, not only in the case of a compliment. Attempts to pass off their fantasies as reality have never ended well. Especially in relationships. If you have any questions, ask directly. This will help you avoid a lot of trouble.

Behave naturally, sincerity is the main weapon against which there is no "antidote".

They say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. Start thanking for compliments today. I'll start: you are beautiful! Now mentally tell me "thank you" for that. The countdown is open.

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