Episode 17: Do you receive compliments?

When someone compliments you, what’s your initial reaction? How do you respond? What is your physical reaction to receiving a compliment?

I ask this because how you receive compliments is a direct correlation with how you feel about yourself, about your personal self worth.

How you receive compliments gives your brain crucial information when it comes to believing in yourself and rewiring your brain for confidence.

Self talk is massively important. I reference episodes 3 and 4 of this podcast a LOT, but that’s because it gives the framework for self talk and how you can literally use it to rewire your brain. It’s all so fascinating and it’s broken down in a way that is digestible and very understandable.

But anyway – back to the compliments. What you say to your brain, your brain accepts as reality. So if someone says “Oh my gosh you’re so pretty!” and you automatically say, “I’m not really, but thank you!” Your brain says “Well dang. I thought we were pretty but apparently we’re not. Ok – solidify that whole not pretty thing we’ve got going on. We ugly!”

It’s one thing if you’re pretty solid on your self talk and are just having a bad day. But if you continually reject compliments, your brain takes that as fact. Your brain accepts what you say to it as the solid reality it lives in and that belief gets solidified in your brain and becomes part of your biology.

The hardest part of this, though, is this teaches your brain not to believe others when they say positive things about you. If someone tells you you’re ugly and you tell yourself you are, that gets solidified. If someone tells you you’re beautiful and you reject it, that gets solidified.

When you’re struggling with your self worth, compliments are really difficult. You don’t really know how to respond to them and you feel wrong for accepting them.

So the first step to accepting compliments is saying, “Thank you. I receive that.”

That’s it. I heard that for the first time on Chalene Johnson’s podcast, The Chalene Show and I thought it was the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard.

Then I heard my girl Jasmine Star (she doesn’t know this – but she’s one of my best friends) say it and it stood out to me.

There was no refusal, no argument about how it’s not true. Just “I receive that.” 

How beautiful is that?

Think of a compliment as a gift. Imagine that someone spent time wrapping a gift for you and handed it to you, smile on their face, and you just slap it right out of their hand so it smashes on the ground.

If someone gave you a gift, would you do that? I swear to goodness you better not. If someone did that to me I’m sure some obscenities would come out of my mouth before I even had a chance to think.

Now flip it. Imagine you reached your hands out to give a gift and they slapped it out of your hand. How would that feel?

That’s how compliments work. When you don’t receive it, when you reject it, it’s as if you’re throwing someone’s gift right on the ground and walking away.

But if you can smile and say, “Thank you, I receive that.”, even if you don’t believe it, you’re doing so many amazing things you don’t even realize.

One, you’re accepting the compliment. You’re receiving it. You’re telling your brain that this is something worth receiving. It’s going to feel weird and awkward. Your brain really isn’t going to know what to do with it. And that’s OK. But do it anyway.

Two, you’re getting yourself used to receiving the compliment. The first time is the most uncomfortable. It gets easier each time.

Three, you’re giving the other person the gift of receiving the gift they gave to you. Not having a gift rejected feels AMAZING.

The next thing to work on when it comes to compliments is noticing how your brain and body react when you receive one. Notice the negative thoughts that come to mind that attempt to negate it. Those are the things that you need to work on.

Take note of those negative things. I talk about this exercise quite a bit but it’s because it’s just SO powerful.

Pull out a journal and list all of the negative things that come to mind when you receive a compliment. Then on a new piece of paper, write the negative thing at the top, and list out every reason why that negative thing is a lie. You’re going to write down your truths, the positive things about yourself.

And you’re going to do this with every negative thing that pops up.

Then you’re going to rinse and repeat until you’re comfortable receiving compliments.

Not only will you be comfortable receiving them, you’re going to believe them. This exercise will work if only you do. You have to do this more than once if you expect to see any solid change.

But if you do put in the work, you’re going step into a whole new beautiful season of life. A season you deserve.

Thank you so much for listening.

Never forget – you are strong. You are capable. You are intelligent. You are worthy.

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