How to Take a compliment

I spend a lot of time with women.

Women make up the bulk of my colleagues, my friends, my clients, my readers, my followers, my audience – hell even my children are on their way to becoming women.

And what I can tell you from spending so much time in person, on screen, and in print with these awesome women, is that they do not receive compliments well

Is that a sweeping generalization? Probably.  Is it warranted?  Yes.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You: “Wow, that photo is AMAZING!”

Your friend:

“HA, that’s because you can’t see the double chin we edited out.  Yours looks great too, by the way.”

“Pffttt…that’s the only one out of like, a hundred that turned out.”

“Oh my gosh, you should have seen what I looked like just AFTER that was taken.”

You: “I just read on Facebook about what you did; dude, that’s fantastic!”

Your friend:

“It wasn’t all me.  Seriously, I had a lot of help.”

“Yeah, I mean there’s still a lot of work to be done, but this is a start.”

“I’m not 100% thrilled with it yet, but you know, we’re getting there.”


It is amazing to me how quick we are to deflect praise, to ensure we don’t take full ownership of the great things we have done, to downplay our pride in the way we look.  I don’t know if this is a learned behaviour, if it’s a response to a lifetime of being told to be polite, or a fear of being judged as arrogant and vain.

I do know that it needs to stop now though.

You want to know how to take a compliment?

Say “thank you.” Simple, right?  Deeply, profoundly, the truth has been in front of you this whole time, simple.

Girl, I may not know you in person, but I am willing to bet a fat stack of cash on the fact that you have worked for whatever you have in your life today, and I bet you’ve worked hard for it.  Maybe that is an awesome career path you’ve carved out, charming and lovely children, a smokin’ body, a beautiful wardrobe or home, skin that glows from within, a talent or craft you’ve invested a lot of time and effort into, or a strong and grounded personality that makes the ones around you feel like anything is possible.

Own it.

I bet you’ve made choices, sacrifices, compromises, taken risks, learned lessons, experienced failure and grave disappointment, all on your way to getting where you are – or where you’re so damn close to being.

Take responsibility for everything you did that got you here – even if that was the 5 minutes you spent running a brush and dry shampoo through your hair to polish off your damn self before you left the house.

It’s ok to be proud of your accomplishments.  It’s ok to be happy with what you have, what you’ve done, how you look, and above all – WHO YOU ARE.

I found out the other day that a really good friend of mine has been chosen to speak at a major (no, I mean like MAJOR) conference this year.  After the initial breathless shock at the gravity of how effing dope that is, and what that means for her career and life so far, and her career and life to come, we had an awesome conversation about how we feel each other’s accomplishments are our own.  Can you relate?

Like when one of your people does something super rad, do you feel so happy and proud of them, as you would for yourself, because you know the path they took to get there?

These are the moments we live for, so when they come, sister, I am begging you to please celebrate, in whatever way is comfortable for you.  Respect yourself enough to see the forest through your own damn trees, and recognize for a hot minute that this is worthy of celebrating; YOU are worthy of celebrating.

So to recap:

Let those walls come down, lady, and let that love come in.

1 Comment

  1. Laura
    January 24, 2018 / 1:12 pm

    Awesome post! This is something I have been working on for years; just say thank you and leave it. I read an interesting article saying that when women don’t deflect praise, men tend to downplay their achievements, even after they’ve just given the compliment!

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