WHY YOU SHOULD ACCEPT COMPLIMENTSThis has been bugging me for quite some time now. I've decided to compile (quite a long) post on the topic. This may still be edited, but… here's this, for now.
It is a very common trend, especially among creative people, to be at a loss as to how to handle compliments. Most people deal with this by shrinking back and getting flustered when compliments are given. People will start denying the compliment(s) and start to list the negative things about themselves, and/or start to draw comparisons between themselves and people they admire to put themselves in a bad light.
I want you to pause right there and let me say: STOP THAT. It is not a healthy attitude to have. Moreover, it's an ungratious one.
Why you should accept compliments:1. Basic good manners.
When someone pays you a compliment, chances are that they really mean it. Believe it or not, compliments are usually delivered with good intent. You need to learn to accept that fact. Not everyone is out to get you. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite. When we have low self-esteem, we make other people out to be far more aggressive and mean than they really are. It's a defense mechanism. But it is also an erroneous (and damaging) belief.
When someone gives you a Christmas (or any) present, what do you do? You smile, say thank you, say they didn't have to, but you accept it anyway, right? Even if you don't like it. Because that's the polite and correct thing to do. It's the same with compliments. No, they didn't have to, yes, it was nice of them, smile and say thank you. But you don't push it back into their hands and say they don't know what they're talking about. People find that offensive. Why? Because it's rude. By rejecting the gift, you are telling the gifter that you don't trust or appreciate what they are trying to do for you*.2. It makes the person complimenting you happy.
How do you feel when you do something nice for someone, or give them a gift? You see them happy and that makes you happy, right? Yes. So, it's the same with compliments. People compliment you to make you feel good, and you should accept them as such.3. Rejecting compliments alienates people.
People may compliment you for several reasons. The most common reason being that they are trying to be nice and show you that they are friendly. The compliment can be a kind of stepping stone to getting to know you better, maybe providing an ice breaker/conversation starter. Besides all that, they probably really mean what they are saying. If you reject the compliment, you are essentially making that person uncomfortable, because the one thing they said to you is the one thing you outright reject. Awkward right? Yeah, very, especially if it's a new person trying to make friends with you.
Note: Even if someone is trying to make friends and you are not all that into the idea, you can still politely say "thank you" once and leave it there. There are plenty of ways of telling someone you are not into their company without being rude.4. Self-deprecation is an unattractive quality.
Despite what that awful One Direction song** says, not believing that you are beautiful/a worthwhile person does not make you beautiful. It makes you someone who does not have a sense of self-worth.
When I was in school I was bullied a lot, so I developed a self-deprecating attitude as a defense mechanism. The words were meant to hurt less if I said them first. Of course, this is a very counter-productive attitude, albeit a perfectly natural reaction. This attitude carried on into a year or so after high school, until someone actually said to me once, "will you please STOP SAYING SORRY FOR EVERYTHING?! It's REALLY ANNOYING!!" I almost apologised again, but swallowed it right there… that was the first of many occasions when I'd had to swallow an apology before it escaped. I realised that I had been telling other people bad things about myself for years, and endlessly too, and totally and utterly without prompting from their side. It must have been a very frustrating situation with most people just being too polite to voice their frustration at my shitty attitude.
Needless to say, I was quite embarrassed and resolved to watch the words that exit my mouth more carefully. It's a constant battle, it's taken years to kick the habit (mostly), but at least I am fighting it. We are so quick to say bad things about ourselves, which brings me to the next point:5. Self-deprecation is a self-centered, attention-seeking behaviour.
Yes. The very thing that a lot of people try to deny is that which that they accomplish. By rejecting compliments, you automatically encourage people to try harder to compliment you. This can go on for as long as you and the complimenter play the game. Some people really get high off it. STOP IT. It's attention-seeking behaviour. We all like to hear nice things about ourselves, secretly, but constantly denying compliments is just fishing for more, really. Because people will feel the need to make you feel better about yourself, because clearly, you are down and feel worthless.
If you are dependent on this type of situation to feel good, that's a bad sign. It's not healthy. You may not have been aware of this need/addiction before, but now you are. So stop it. Smile, say thank you, and move on.6. Going on a tirade about how much you don't deserve compliments will attract creepers and chancers.
I'm going to type this specifically with cis
girls in mind, because I as a cis girl made this stupid freaking mistake over and over and it bit me in the ass every time.
This is where all those people bitching and moaning about being "friendzoned" and "girls like bad boys" thing should listen up as well.
Girls who constantly have negative things to say about themselves, be it their bodies, talents, intelligence, social skills, or otherwise, WILL most likely end up with a "bad boy" or a "loser which is not you" because those are usually the dodgy type who can smell weakness and thrive on codependence. They simply do not care (or are too stupid to recognise that this is a bad thing). They will bulldoze over her insecurities and/or exploit them, and because this is the only way she knows of getting attention/recognition, she will live under that yoke until she wakes up, which may be never. Sad but true.
Ladies, if you take the Disney princess approach to romance, prepare for a very bitter wake-up call. There is no such thing as a prince who will fall in love with you and rescue you from your emotional prison of self-loathing. He will not trade your ashes for beauty, he will not come, because he does not exist. There is no "one day my prince will come." The time is now. Work on yourself and your issues. No romantic partner is going to do that for you. In fact, it can kill a perfectly good relationship.TL;DR
Accepting compliments is polite and socially/emotionally constructive. You don't need to do an Oscar acceptance speech. Just thank the person, enjoy the moment, and move on with life. Not everything revolves around your angst. The planets will not stop in their heavenly path because you have just been paid an unjust compliment. Learn to accept compliments, and you may just become the person, mentally and emotionally, whom everyone is complimenting.
*Unless it's a random creepy stranger and they want you to come to the back of their van to collect your gift. In such a case, it is probably safe to assume that something dodgy is about to go down and you should dial your Circle of 6.
**What Makes You Beautiful - Catchy tune, stupid lyricsOther Art Projects and Sales:
State Of The Art: [link]Danelle Malan Cottonstar
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