What Accepting a Compliment Really Means

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to receive a compliment, without deflecting, defusing, or refusing it?

Because genuine compliments, given with a genuine intent, very often shine a light on the deeply intimate and vulnerable parts of ourselves, that we often keep hidden lest we be seen as our whole, true selves, which by the very definition of being human, have almost certainly been judged, wounded or rejected.

So, paradoxically considering how much we all need to be accepted and loved, this means that we hide huge parts of who we really are, with the false belief that we will be more loved and more accepted, when it just means we are less understood and as a result, less loved.

And this can often be seen in the difficulty that so many of us face in simply accepting a genuine compliment – because we have hidden or forgotten about our beautiful parts, because we put them away lest they get broken.

We talk about being grateful yet we seem to think that is a one-way street, it is not – we can and should receive as well as give gratitude, otherwise, how can we ever learn to see the good in ourselves from another’s perspective?

We talk about being humble yet we seem to think this has to entail forgoing any recognition of our strengths, or kindness, or compassion – it does not, it simply means we receive it as it is given, it does not need to be analysed, justified or exaggerated.

So, in fact, learning to hear and then embrace compliments are at the very essence of being grateful and humble, because not only have you inspired another to want to give you that compliment, you have accepted it with grace and therefore shown the other person that their words matter and that they have been heard.

It’s ok to receive and embrace a compliment, in fact, it’s a sure sign that you are allowing yourself to be fully seen and that is how we can all learn to be loved and indeed to love others.


Nik Davis
Nik Davis
NIK DAVIS is a business transformation expert and has spent 20 years in the corporate world. Her comfort zone is order, logic and applying analytical tools to solve complex problems. She is also a keen observer of life, a writer and eccentric. Nik has recently returned to the world of work after taking a career break to spend time with her family. Upon her return, she found that her perspective had changed, as had the world she was returning to. Nik decided to carve out a new place in that world and mould some of it to fit her too. Nik sees life from quirky angles, shaped by experiences and the vast amount of knowledge we now have access to. She likes to write about her experiences and observations. To ‘tell it how it is’ and to find a more authentic way to live, whether in our professional or personal lives. Nik often talks about finding ‘The Third Way’. It’s a philosophy about life, having a personal life as well as a career, making money and being socially generous, being logical and sensitive, living by the rules of a society but not being afraid to challenge them, inspiring others to feel good but not for your own ego, giving rather than taking. Nik wants to make a difference to this world by getting people to see things differently, to try new ways of working but most of all, to re-discover our true selves and therefore reach our true potential. Nik also has two other persona’s: nikdavis which is where Nik writes about her deeply personal experiences of life. Nik runs a facebook group alongside this website to create a safe place for people to discuss the topics that are raised in her blog. Nik’s second persona is Lilly Isabella and this is where she shares her passion of fashion and design.

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  1. Yes, it’s true, we often feel uncomfortable with the compliments or praise that are given to us and we are also ashamed of not being able to respond adequately, running the risk of appearing ridiculous. n many occasions, in order not to give ourselves too much importance or not to seem arrogant or exaggerated, we end up denigrating, rejecting or belittling the compliment, praise or gift received.
    Before responding with kindness and elegance to compliments, one must learn to accept them with the heart. A compliment can hide various intentions and not be sincere, but most of the time it is.
    Either way, people who give a compliment expect the other person to accept it. And his response must be modest (without feigning false modesty) and show gratitude.