If you and your partner dismiss each other’s compliments, then you are dismissing intimate moments. What does dismissal look like? It looks different for everyone and every relationship. Here are just a few examples of how your discomfort might show up:
- Laughing your way out of the compliment (using humor to deflect away from the compliment)
- Countering with another compliment (deflecting away from the self and onto your partner)
- Stopping the compliment from happening (totally blocking intimacy)
When you do not know how to receive a compliment with ease and comfort, then your partner’s powerful acknowledgements have nowhere to land. If this describes you or your partner, then let’s talk about why. What are some of the reasons for dismissing compliments?
The Reasons Why
Intimacy starts with you and compliments are intimate. Consider how your personal history affects how you receive compliments. Do these apply?
- Self-esteem – When don’t feel good about yourself on the inside and someone offers you a compliment, the words don’t match how you see yourself. It’s difficult to take the beautiful words in if you don’t believe them yourself.
- Family of Origin – How did your family acknowledge each other? Were compliments encouraged or discouraged? Did your parents praise each other? As products of our environments, we often carry on the culture and traditions of our families of origin.
- Expectations – If someone “sees” you and expresses this through a compliment, then they may expect more from you. This may exceed how you see yourself. It may feel easier to dismiss their compliment than to fulfill what you imagine their expectation to be.
What’s true in almost any of these moments is this: Compliments are a practice in exposure, intimacy, and vulnerability. We all want to be recognized, to feel significant to someone else. That experience can feel welcome and simultaneously, overwhelming.
How to Receive a Compliment
You need to own your awesomeness! Remember, it all starts with you. It’s hard to give unto others if you yourself struggle to receive. Here are three questions to ask yourself:
- What do you feel good about?
Implement a ritual of self-acknowledgment. Review your day daily. Ask yourself what you feel good about that day. Maybe you made it to the gym or made a good food choice or went the extra mile at work. Think about your accomplishments and feel good about yourself.
2. What can you compliment in others?
Be generous in your recognition of others. Make your compliments authentic. If you are able to give genuine compliments to someone else, then it reinforces for you that compliments can be authentic acknowledgments of appreciation. This helps when you are on the receiving end.
3. How do you receive a compliment?
Work on being generous with yourself and generous with offering compliments to others. This practice will strengthen your ability to receive acknowledgment from others. Compliments will finally have a place to “land” within you because compliments, both giving and receiving, will feel familiar.
Love. Live. Awesome.
So, I say again – Own your awesomeness!
It starts with acknowledging yourself, so others can acknowledge you, too. If you see the good in yourself, then the ones you love can recognize the good in you, too. Learning how to receive a compliment is a powerful experience. You deserve to give and receive the good in your life.