Receiving Compliments

Err. Emm. Errr.

Why can’t we accept compliments?


I’ve come to realise something recently.  Well, no, actually, it’s been pointed out to me by my husband in the past, and rather frequently too, but I simply never quite took stock of it.  Sorry, my love, for not listening to you, but you’re always so biased, in my favour, I don’t know when to believe what you say (I love you!!)

So yes, that one thing I’ve developed awareness of?  That women are, basically, terrible when it comes to accepting compliments, and yes, I’m part of that statistic.  And this isn’t even a new phenomenon upon which we can blame, oh I don’t know, the current sexist administration?  I digress.  It would seem that the vast majority of my species feels uncomfortable in the face of unsolicited kudos.  We stutter and get all awkward, guilty even (dare I say).  And shuffle most uncomfortably towards the guaranteed death of said conversation.

W H Y    I S    T H A T ?

To determine if this was an occurrence which happened only within my immediate circle (myself included), I thought I’d undertake a little experiment.

What if I complimented every female I met over the weekend?

What would transpire?

How would they react?

Surely, at least one would respond positively?

Lap up my compliment?


So did any women accept one of my freebie compliments?  Did anyone own it and relish the joys of non-fished-for praise?  Here’s the thing, I distributed my words of praise to strangers, and coworkers alike.  Sadly, not a single one of these fabulous women stood back and accepted their compliment.  Not.  One.

A woman I’ve been seeing at the gym for the past few years?  Based on her clothes and posture, and how she carried herself in conversations, I’ve long admired her as a power-player.  And guess what?  She became uncomfortable when I commented on how pretty I thought her bracelet was.  “Oh, I found this at the bottom of the drawer. It’s really old,” she mumbled.

The compliments I dished out were hardly radical.  I mean, it was just about taking a moment to tell women something complimentary, when they had something to justifiably compliment.

And it wasn’t a gentle rebuffing, either.  The majority of females I spoke to instantly tore themselves down.  At best, a few did this weird uncomfortable laugh, whilst looking down at their (shuffling) feet, rather like a version of saying, “Please stop!!

I myself am not a keen recipient of compliments.  Don’t get me wrong, I love them but I definitely feel embarrassed and get all flummoxed when I’m complimented, and I have an inkling it’s because I don’t believe I deserve them.  Especially when it’s coming from family because, after all, family members are pre-programmed to look at me with rose-tinted vision, yes?

I read somewhere that rebuffing compliments is something women have learned over time.  That many women are socialised to be humble, modest, and to avoid external displays of pride or arrogance.  Therefore, our default response is to be demure and rebuff compliments.  From women.  And, conversely, women are twice as likely to accept a compliment from a man than from another woman.

I S N ' T    T H A T    F A S C I N A T I N G ?

But how can we deviate from what appears to be our natural setting?  How do we start to stop dodging the compliments?   The first step is to acknowledge that accepting a compliment is actually beneficial to self-worth.  Savour the compliment instead of immediately batting it away.

Saying thanks might feel iffy and arrogant and even self-absorbed in the beginning.  And those feelings are very natural, yes, but it’s not a sign that you’re doing something wrong.  Because you’re not.  Just like any kind of habit or behavioural change, accepting compliments will initially feel uncomfortable, but we need to train ourselves to do it.

And upgrade our perceptions of ourselves that we deserve the compliments.  That we are worthy.  And take comfort in the fact that accepting compliments is beneficial for our emotional wellbeing.

I’m quite certain our self-worth will thank us for it later.

Top (c/o Shein Official ) | Shorts (H&M) | Booties (Cicihot) | Sunnies (Poshmark)

And how’s that for light Monday reading, huh?  GRIN you can always count on me to be forthcoming.  And honest.  And no holds barred.




Love, Sheela

p/s I link up here.

pp/s yes, that’s a blue trashcan, a cool blue trashcan, mind you.


16 Replies to “Receiving Compliments”

  1. What a brilliant post, Sheela (compliment number one) and you look fabulous as always (compliment number two), you’ve got the most incredible legs which I envy (compliment number three)!! I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable – I just want you to know that you’re AWESOME!
    Suzy xxx


  2. You are completely 100% accurate on this; my friends & I were actually discussing it not too long ago. It’s most definitely rooted in societal expectations since it seems the vast majority of those of the female persuasion struggle with it.
    However I think the varying degrees to which we struggle with it are of a more personal nature. Some, like yourself, have heard compliments from family; the people who “have to” think you’re fabulous, which sort of further programs you to disregard them from all, as if they don’t really mean it. I on the other never ever had anyone compliment me growing up so to me, compliments have always been like a foreign language. Does that make sense? In any case, I do try to make every effort to simply say thank you. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes not…like everything it’s a work in progress.
    You by the way, look insanely casual hot my friend. I definitely need to pair ankle boots with a heel with a pair of shorts.


  3. I’ve only just got good at taking compliments before that I would get all shy and awkward. Fabulous blog post x


  4. Like Jodie wrote, I believe I got this habit from my mother and aunts – that it’s unseemly to glow about oneself. I try to say a simple “thank you”, and it’s getting easier. May I compliment your gorgeous hair and cool outfit? xox



  5. Love the shoes, and what an awesome Shein find for the top. It is always so hit or miss on that site.


  6. First of all, you look Hot! I really like the mix of neutrals and would have never thought to add heeled boots with shorts. Totally works. Oh, and those boots are pretty amazing!

    I think I have become more gracious about accepting compliments in general, but I couldn’t help but think about the compliments you and Julia gave me on IG and how I hemmed and hawed. Definitely reminds me I have room for growth in this area. Also, I have been more brash with handing out compliments to strangers when something strikes me positively. I do receive a lot of random compliments from strangers and it always makes my day, so I am trying to share the love. I have been surprised at how many people look at me like I am crazy…


  7. You are looking amazing as always! I adore those booties! This was a great post and I think you are right! We all need to be better about accepting compliments!


  8. This was really fascinating! I find myself often to be hungry for affirmation, so I really enjoy compliments, but I’m not sure how I receive them! I’ll have to start paying attention.


  9. This is definitely something I’ve gotten better at over the years. I have one friend who just cannot accept something nice about herself and I seriously have made it a personal mission to get her to stop dissing. I feel like the more compliments I give the easier it is to receive on the flipside.

    great post Sheela!


  10. I love your post, you write so well. thanks for sharing these points Sheela, oh and yes fabulous legs you have. Jacqui Mummabstylish


  11. Sheela, I am fascinated by the results of your compliment giving experiment as I have had much different results. I give compliments freely and frequently to strangers…men and women alike. It’s like I cannot contain myself. If I admire something or someone even from afar, I will go out of my way to let them know. And I would say about half respond favorably with a confident and deserving “thank you”. The other half definitely respond uncomfortably similar to the way you have described. So now I am intrigued by our different experiences in similar experiments. Hmmm….

    On the opposite side of this coin, I have (only very recently) gotten quite good at sincerely, genuinely, confidently, and humbly accepting unsolicited compliments delivered to me. And I suppose I forced myself to not appear awkward and uncomfortable at first until it became my natural way of accepting said compliments. (A fake it ’til you make it scenario, I suppose.) I am not haughty or arrogant by any means, I just figure if someone went out of their way to compliment me, just as I do to others, they must be sincere and genuine, and so I will humbly and proudly accept the compliment with gratitude. A simple thank you always suffices.

    That being said, another great post and another remarkably cool and chic outfit!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: