The giving and receiving of compliments may be one of the simplest and most underused tools towards gaining inner peace, serenity, and a sense of self. However, often we find it difficult to take in positive messages and compliments. We get nervous or defensively brush off the kind words of others. A few people may even discount flattering remarks and begin arguing with the compliment giver!

A few reasons we may reject complements include:

• Analyzing the compliment and wondering, “What did they really mean?”
• Uncomfortable or embarrassed with the attention of a compliment
• Feeling unworthy or undeserving of the compliment
• Expecting the compliment to be followed with a criticism
• Rejecting compliments due to a lack of self-esteem
• Being used to putting self down first before someone can beat us to the punch
• Not wanting to feel obligated to give a return compliment
• Simply not knowing how to handle the compliment

If you have difficulty graciously accepting compliments, it might be time to explore your own resistance. Be curious. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen if you opened yourself to receive a compliment? Does the compliment seem to be the reverse of what you currently believe about yourself? What choice would have to make so you can relax, breathe, and accept a compliment?

Why Accept a Compliment?
What’s important about receiving compliments is that it opens your heart to yourself. Accepting compliments can be a useful tool in the journey of self-discovery. Who are you really, beneath the limiting lies of self-doubt that you have learned to believe about yourself?

It is true that you do not require the approval of others to be happy and peaceful. Compliments and approval are a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. In fact seeking the approval of others is generally a diversion for refusing to give yourself the peace and happiness you seek. However, people who can't accept compliments tend to be more down on themselves and less positive about their abilities and attainments. Accepting compliments is a step, a model to learn from, of how to give yourself praise and approval.

By opening to accept compliments, you can begin to see yourself through another person’s perception. You can notice yourself in a new light, and become aware of what is right about you. You can acknowledge that you are good and worthy, loveable and likeable. Compliments can allow you to know and accept yourself. You can love yourself today and love yourself for who you will become tomorrow.

How to Receive Compliments
One of the most simple, effective, and graceful ways to accept a compliment is to say a simple, “Thank you.” You do not need to offer rebuttals, return compliments, or explanations. Here are a few effective sample responses to a compliment:

• Thank you. I appreciate that.
• Thank you, your words mean a lot to me.
• Thank you, I value your input.
• Thank you, that is very kind.
• Thank you, I had a lot of help reaching this success.

Try out of few of these responses until you find one that you feel comfortable saying. Then practice it until it flows naturally.

Also, notice how your body typically responds when compliments are given. Does your heart constrict, your chest tighten, or your breathing become more shallow? If so, the next time you receive a compliment, take a deep breath and physically relax any area of your body that feels tense. Reassure yourself. Breathe in the beauty of what was offered and accept it into your body. Acknowledge within yourself that you are worthy of receiving such beauty from the world. Tell yourself that it is now safe to receive.

Give Compliments Generously
Offering compliments allows you to see abundance and beauty in all forms. Instead of noticing what is wrong about you, the world, and others, you begin noticing what is right and beautiful. Offering a heartfelt compliment opens your energy to a higher level. You release tension in your body, soften your resistance to the world, and fill yourself with love and a sense of peace. Expressing beauty to yourself or to another creates beauty in your soul.

However, sometimes when we offer a sincere, deeply felt compliment, we inadvertently find ourselves on the receiving end of a deflected compliment. The unexpected rebuff can feel confusing and suck the positive energy out of the air. They we are, tenderly opening our heart and sharing what we found beautiful or inspiring, and in turn our love is rejected. It can be tempting to avoid offering compliments as freely in the future.

Perhaps, even though someone was unable to accept a compliment in our presence, we might only be seeing his or her initial response. I remember when I was much younger, if someone would offer me a compliment, I would initially turn aside the comment. I suppose I felt undeserving or perhaps even cautious. Yet, later on, when I was alone, I would imagine the compliment as a gift, beautifully wrapped and just waiting for me. In the safety of my own space, I would take the compliment out of storage and gently unwrap my gift. It was a beautiful present just waiting for me to receive it into my life.

Now, when I run into someone who is not easily able to accept a compliment in the moment, I pause to consider the greater possibilities. Perhaps they too will take the compliment out of storage when they feel safe and ready. And the love within the compliment will be there when they are most ready to receive it!

The Art of Compliment Giving
Never underestimate the value of compliment. A compliment, given sincerely and openly, shows your appreciation and caring. The main guideline to giving a compliment is to be sincere and genuine. Ask yourself to recognize what is important, what needs to be spoken, and what can be offered as a selfless gift. Then open your heart and send your words with sincerity. Allow your voice and tone to convey the truth of what you speak.

Use “I” messages to convey your compliments. For example, rather than saying, “You are such a calm and strong person,” you can say, “I value your calm nature and your show of strength.” A good “I” message is more difficult to be deflected or argued against. In addition, “I” messages are personal revelations, while “you” messages are judgements.

Some examples of complimentary messages include:
• One thing I value about you . . .
• One thing I admire about you . . .
• I think it was really inspiring the way you . . .

It can feel frightening to give or receive compliments if you are not used to do that. But it can also help you to start noticing good things about yourself and other people, increase positive energy, and bring a sense of connection. You deserve to feel good. So try opening up, just a little bit, to real compliments. A sincere compliment, whether given or received, can transform the day and make you feel like a good person. What could be so bad about that?

Author's Bio: 

If you're not living the life of your dreams or getting the results you want, it's probably your beliefs holding you back. Inspirational author and personal growth expert Dr. Annette Colby, RD can help. Whether you are trying to take the pain out of life, turn difficult emotions into joy, release stress, end emotional eating, or move beyond depression, you can achieve success. Annette breaks it down step-by-step so anyone can achieve the life they are wanting to live, no matter how tough life was before. To access hundreds of content filled articles and sign up for an inspirational Loving Miracles newsletter visit

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