Do you laugh off compliments from friend’s family and strangers? Does the idea of someone expressing something positive or noteworthy in you make you uncomfortable? Compliments on our appearance, character traits and our work can leave us feeling vulnerable. Many of us have planted seeds of doubt about our goodness and worth beneath the surface of our seemingly confident exterior.
These seeds were planted due to past negative experiences that have led to insecurity. Insecurity is a destructive trait that should be dealt with head-on. It robs us of our contentment and in doing so we are unable to honor ourselves and the life that God has given us. ..be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5
Read on to learn how to honor yourself by accepting compliments and banishing insecurity:
1) Believe that you are worthy
Not because of anything you possess or do, but because you were made in the image of God. God brought you here, He sought you out and He died for you. No one can take that away from you. If you are breathing and experiencing life, it is for a purpose – His purpose. Meditate on those truths. No ugly words or experiences in your past can hold a candle to the truth of God’s love for you. He calls you His beloved:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience – Colossians 3:12
Believe you are His beloved. If God approves of you, loves you, guides you and lives in you, then no matter what past ugliness you emerged from, it cannot change these truths and it has no say in your identity. Commit to releasing these past negative experiences, if you need help to do this, reach out via church counseling or by seeking a licensed Therapist. Believing in your worth will help you not to deny the truth of a compliment in the moment. If I had a penny for every time I've heard people say things like, "Oh no, not me --pretty, smart, kind, lovely?? (insert any positive trait)" I'd be rich. The truth is we ARE these things. People are seeing and identifying with the God in us. Allow them to and thank them for it.
2) Be Still
There is something to be said about allowing ourselves to sit in the discomfort that can sometimes ensue after we are given a compliment. There are many scenarios in life where we rush to fill the space of a potentially awkward exchange. Whether it is the silence that can take place during a phone call or the awkward back and forth that sometimes happens when you bump into an acquaintance at the local coffee shop and you’re not sure what to say. Understand that we do not need to welcome that awkward energy and assume responsibility over it. Begin to normalize feeling an emotion and then deciding whether to take on that emotion and apply it in the moment. We do not need to act on everything we feel. Practice stillness in the moment so that you can evaluate what you feel and then decide how you want to show up in the moment. Emotions are important indicators. They send us valuable information about the different components of our lives.
That being said, we are the drivers regarding which emotions we assume and apply in the moment. I choose to not assume responsibility over awkward moments. This doesn’t mean that my actions aren’t awkward at times, it simply means that I won’t allow that energy to mar my present interaction. Instead I prefer to choose gratitude. When we receive compliments, it may feel awkward to us. We may become uncomfortable and because of that discomfort, we deflect, deny or rush to respond by complimenting the person who just complimented us in order to place the burden we feel back on the kind person who complimented us.
All of these behaviors create an awkward moment and they are borne of a lack of honor we have for ourselves. A better way to handle the situation is to acknowledge the discomfort we feel but choose to not let it dominate our behaviors. Instead, we choose gratitude by smiling and saying, “thank you” and genuinely meaning it. It’s as simple as that.
3) Give Compliments
One major thing that has helped me accept compliments is giving them. I notice so many wonderful things about the people around me and I don’t just sit on the things that I notice. Many people are burdened with negative self-talk due to insecurities. These people may not even be aware of the way I and others admire them in different ways. I feel it is my duty to spread love and positivity by voicing my admiration. One caveat is that it must be genuine. I would never compliment someone by telling them something positive about themselves that I don’t believe. That is deception and it is cruel. There are many things that I admire about people, there really is no reason to lie. If someone is a horrible dresser, you do not need to tell them you like their shoes, instead you can wait until something noteworthy pops up. For instance, they may be a great cook or have a healthy head of hair. Focus on the good and voice it. Once you notice all of the great things about others and express it, it will give you the confidence to accept when someone notices wonderful things about you too. I truly believe we have a mandate to spread love and positivity. This world can be very dark for many. We must do our part to be kind and loving and show others that they are loved.
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2