How To Accept A Compliment… And Why Most Women Don’t

August 15, 2017

There are only two words you can use when you receive a compliment… can you guess what they are?

Before we get there, let’s see if any of the following resonate with you.

Oooh I love that top you are wearing.
Typical response: oh this… it was the only thing that didn’t need ironing. (this actually happened on the weekend) or I bought it at xxxx and it was only xxxxx (not sure why we feel compelled to tell someone that it was cheap).

Really like your hair that way.
Typical response: actually, I was just about to get it cut… I can’t stand it when it looks like this.

Gee you look beautiful
Actual response: OMG I look hideous, I am so tired (insert other criticisms)

Love that jacket.
Actual response: I wear it to hide the fat.

Great job today, you really nailed that presentation:
Actual response: Ooh I was so disorganised/nervous/unprepared etc etc

I think you would be perfect for that new role in marketing.
Actual response: I don’t think I am ready.

Congratulations on your new board position/senior management position.
Actual response: Oh I was lucky.

Now, let’s ask ourselves…would a man reject compliments and self-criticise in that way, I doubt it.

I often wonder why it is that we remember criticisms much longer and more acutely than we recall compliments. We remember someone from our schooldays calling us names or being mean as clearly as if it was yesterday… but a compliment, well how could we remember when we spend so much time and energy throwing it back at the person giving it. Is it because we think we don’t deserve it?

Is it conditioning from childhood where we learned that response from our parents?

I don’t have the answers to the why, but I can highly recommend that when someone gives you a compliment think of it as being given a gift and then the only response you can/must give is ‘thank you’. I encourage you to do that until it becomes second nature.

Deanna Lane
Welcome to Changing Lanes with Deanna a column designed for women who want to accelerate their business or career and get into the fast lane, those who are seeking to change lanes… and the entrepreneurs and innovators who want to create their own lane. Each article will contain tips on letting go of what holds you back, how to power up your ambition and play to your strengths. Deanna is a published author, keynote speaker, facilitator and business mentor. She is a Master Trainer in Extended DISC Profiling and uses this behavioural analysis tool to mentor senior executive teams and guide emerging leaders on their career paths.