Why Women Accepting Compliments Is Challenging

by | Mar 29, 2018 | Mental Health

What was the best compliment you ever received? Why is this question good for our health?

“What is the best compliment you received?”, Is a question not typically asked in conversations? I’ve asked women this question in many seminars for the past twenty years. Noticeably, there is a cloud of hesitancy in the room. After women ponder the question, their responses surface. Wow! I can’t remember. Not sure! Maybe last week. No one ever asked me.  Responses to the question create no judgment; more important why do most women hesitate to recall a compliment.

Accepting compliments for many women is challenging.  Sadly, a woman said she had difficulty accepting compliments. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Culture could be a major barrier to accepting compliments. Unfortunately, in many families mentioning a compliment may be seen as bragging or self-serving.

Did someone give you a compliment and you responded with  “you made my day?” Accepting a compliment is healthy.  Healthy writer Leslie Goldman, MPH states “many females are taught they should be modest and humble. Accepting praise could make them appear arrogant. We don’t want other people to think that we think we’re all that. So we downplay our strengths and accentuate our weaknesses.”

A woman helped someone lift a box off the shelf in a store. The  person looked at her with a smile and said: “you are so kind.” She awkwardly accepted the compliment. Being kind is not a grandiose comment. I think kind is an exemplary compliment.

We don’t believe the compliment is true is a common feeling for women. Some compliments are almost surprising to women. We say really? No way. I love your sweater; oh this old thing I’ve had it for years.” Well yes, it’s true because the person sees you that way.  It’s no one’s business how you feel about the compliment. It’s all subjective.

In an article by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today reviewed 6/9/2016, says “there is only one way to receive a compliment—graciously, with a smile.” You will make the person giving the compliment feel comfortable and not awkward if you pooh-pooh the compliment. She adds, “if we allow ourselves to inhale it, can be powerful enough to transform our feelings.” Compliments sooth the soul.

Now, when was the last compliment you received?When someone gives you a compliment make your day with a smile. Just say “thank you.” The feeling will last a long time, and with practice, the brain will make your heart smile. That’s good health awareness don’t you think?


Dr. Barbara

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