Health,  Home,  Love,  Self Care

A Simple Thank You

Has this ever happened to you?

You: Oh I love your dress, it looks so good on you!
Them: It’s just this old thing I haven’t worn in years

Or this:

You: Your hair looks great today!
Them: Well I really need to get a haircut

Or in my case:

Me: That workout outfit is so flattering!
Client: Ugh I hate my belly

I’ve been noticing this type of thing a lot lately. And I don’t like it! It seems to be widespread, the way that we can so easily deflect a compliment, or downgrade a positive comment directed toward us by responding with a negative.

Why do we have such a hard time accepting compliments?

Just a couple of weeks ago I met some friends for happy hour and they noticed my outfit, which is good, because I had taken extra care and energy selecting it. It wasn’t my usual athletic attire, and I even put on these cute red wedge sandals! This is way out of my comfort zone, people. My friends complimented me, but instead of simply thanking them, I went into a long explanation about blah, blah, blah etc etc etc and that’s the reason why I ended up wearing this outfit.

It was a brilliant way to avoid accepting their compliments! Usually I do my best to receive compliments with “thank you” even if sometimes it feels uncomfortable for whatever reason (we could write a book on that, probably.)

But I heard this recently and it really bothers me:

Client: My wife just cannot seem to accept any compliment I give her! It’s so frustrating!

Now I know there are women out there thinking, “I wish my husband would compliment me” and vice-versa. And appreciating each other is a huge part of a successful marriage. Yet we each have our own reasons that we might have a difficult time accepting a compliment, so let’s look at it from the other person’s perspective (which is a place you’ve also been at some point if you’ve ever given a compliment and had it rebuffed.)

A compliment is a heartfelt gift. The person giving it believes you look good, or are smart, or did a good job, or something else positive, and wants you to know that. When you do not receive that compliment, you are minimizing something sincere and heartfelt and individualized directed only to YOU.

There is great reward in giving a gift, but also great power in receiving a gift. It doesn’t feel good when you give and it is not received. Receiving is just as important as giving.

So, even if you can’t figure out in a million years why your friend could possibly think that outfit looks good on you, just trust it and receive it!

And if you’re a married woman and you have a husband who works out with me and you just happen to notice that he pays you compliments . . .

Just say “thank you.”

Just a simple thank you.

Previously published on My Edmonds News


  • Teresa J McCorkle

    Very important message, indeed. I learned from my earliest directly from my mother to always only say, “Thank you,” to compliments. Or to say “thank you very much,” or “thank you for lifting me up today,” “it feels so good to hear that,” etc. I miss my dear mother Joyce every day. I want to phone her and talk to her, and ask her questions, so many times. I learned many good things from her. Thank you for writing and teaching, Pritam.

    • Pritam Potts

      Thank you Terry, thank you for taking the time to read and comment. What I mean is, “thank you for lifting me up today!” =) I love all the variations of thank you that you use. It’s so important, and even now, I forget and try to brush aside compliments (in my writing perhaps not so much, for which I am grateful.) Also a great reminder appreciate my mother while she is with us! Time is so very short. You mother sounds amazing, so sorry for your loss, because no matter how long its been it will always be a loss.

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