Do you know to accept a compliment graciously? Can your teens take a compliment? Small children do it with ease, but somewhere along the line, that ease is lost. It can take a long time to relearn the art of simply saying "Thank you" without fumbling or feeling foolish. Learning how to accept a compliment can be difficult, but it is not impossible.
As adults, we are so often critical of ourselves that we are thrown off-balance when someone gives us a compliment. Life should not be about perfection, it should be about doing the best you can be at any given moment. And when someone recognizes that in you, accept it graciously and gracefully.
How many times has someone given you a compliment and instead of just taking it and saying 'Thank you' the way you did as a child, you instead say "Well, I could have done better." Or "Oh really?, I only wore this because I had nothing else to wear."; "I'm not really smart, I just got lucky!" You get the picture. The worst response may be, "Oh it was easy, anyone could have done it." This kind of negative response makes you appear to be less than you really are and puts the person who gave you the compliment in the position of defending his assessment of you or questioning his own judgment.
Someone says to you "Your hair looks great!" Your response is "I hate my hair like this, it looks like I cut it wearing a bowl." This says to the other person, You have no taste, or if you do it's incredibly bad. Now both of you are embarrassed because you can't take a compliment.
Learning to accept compliments is not easy, especially for many women. Girls are often taught to be modest, which seems to mean not accepting that you are smart, pretty or that your expertise is on target when it comes to "birding in the Galapagos " or whatever subject you know well. On the flip side men seem to thrive on conpliments.
Can you just say "Thank you?"
Of course you can. But do you? When your boss tells you that you did a great job handling the Brown report do you say thank you or do you say "Oh all I did was...". or "I didn't that have to do much." Never, ever ignore or down-play what you have done to help complete a project or make it a success, no matter how little it seems to you. If your boss considers it an achievement then you should too. Modesty or false modesty is seldom appreciated. While your boss may laugh and say "...and he/she is modest too." he may also be rethinking that next step up for you. Remember what you can do in a couple of hours may take someone else a day or two, so accept the kudos, you deserve them. It may get you a raise and a real office instead of a cubicle. The chances are that if it's decided that you are too modest, i.e not aggressive enough, someone else will get the promotion and you will still be stuck with the work anyway.
Take a Hint from Children
Have you ever noticed a very young child when he or she gets a compliment? They not only say 'Thank you' they also tell what else they can do. There is a lesson to be learned there.