Monday Matters: Compliments & Self-Esteem


Do you feel uncomfortable when people compliment you? Is there someone in your life who always seems to reject or undermine your compliments?



I was reading an article the other day about the challenges of complementing a Spouse with low self-esteem.  It discussed how people with low self esteem tend to be uncomfortable when receiving compliments.  I was hooked, THAT IS ME. It was like that feeling when you are reading a horoscope and you look around because everything it says is shockingly true and you think someone must be reading my mind…

I wish I could remember what magazine it was at the gym, or even who wrote it so I can refer you all to it, butttttt I can’t, so sorry.

It makes sense that someone with low self-esteem wouldn’t be comfortable with compliments because it goes against how that person views themselves.  Granted, there are many reasons why people could be predisposition to not liking compliments, but personally the low self-esteem aspect hit home the hardest as well as the “being a perfectionist” ordeal having to do with holding on to such unrealistic expectations for myself.

The author talked about how people with low self esteem will unconsciously use some sort of defense mechanism – for me sometimes I make an awkward face, or roll my eyes in disbelief, or scoff it off as a joke.  In relationships I remember at times compliments tore me up inside, because I didn’t want my boyfriend to have such high standards that I (thought) I couldn’t reach.

As I begin to come more confident in myself I find that I am not as awkward and uncomfortable with receiving compliments than I used to. Depending on the compliment I still feel a little bit of awkwardness, I have also found myself undermining the complement or downplaying what I have done.

It brakes my heart to think that I didn’t feel like (and still feel that sometimes) I don’t deserve these compliments.  Simple things like when I used to play lacrosse and people would say “good game” I would list off in my head 20 reasons why I didn’t have a good game, if someone said “wow you are beautiful” I would make an awkward face or laugh like they were making fun of me, even after a workout or a group ex classes if someone says “you did great” or “you are making great progress” my typically go to is ‘go home your drunk”, even my manager in my year end review was giving me great praise and I was SOOO UNCOMFORTABLE that I jut smiled and nodded.

The author also got me thinking about the person giving the compliment in the situations I described above.  Some of these people may have thought I didn’t value their words or opinion – THAT breaks my heart.

No, but really … 

Taking Action

I want to make a concentrated effort t0 BELIEVE and accept the compliments people give to me.  When I receive a compliment or praise for something I am going to stop and repeat it in my head THEN respond appropriately with a thank you or I appreciate that and believe that what the person is saying is truth.

As for the “being a perfectionist” aspect, I don’t want to lower my standards per-say, but I do want to have a more realistic image for myself and my future. So I can be in a better place to feel as though I deserve praise and good things to happen to me.

On the reverse I want to give more compliments, I want to actively tell people how much I appreciate them and the value that they add to my life.  I also am going to make sure I say it genuinely and make sure that these people BELIEVE in me and what I am saying.


Live Happy,


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