“Your hair looks so nice!” she said. “Can you believe I did it all by myself?” I replied. I wish the dialogue took place somewhere in the weirdest part of my imagination, but no, I can’t say it was all a dream. The exchange took place in real life. A friend gave me a compliment and that was my reply. We’ll get to what happened after my statement below. The point is that I’ve had a significant problem accepting compliments from people in the past and truthfully, during conversations with other women, it’s clear that I’m not alone.


Do you find yourself doing a similar thing when someone gives you a compliment? Taking the attention off the compliment and really, off yourself, by “explaining it away”? Or do you shake your head violently after you receive the compliment, whispering “no” repeatedly as if to deny everything the person just said? Perhaps you think it’s arrogance or conceit if you accept their comments enthusiastically. Instead of figuring out the why, however, let’s be proactive and discuss three quick ways we can move past our general compliment discomfort/denial.


When my friend complimented me on how nice my hair looked and I gave that interesting reply, another friend who was standing nearby provided a bit of necessary advice. “Just say thank you. That’s all you need,” she gently told me. Two of the most beautiful words we could ever say in reply to a compliment. Simply accept the compliment by saying thank you and say nothing more!


Sometimes I find that smiling after I receive a compliment stops me from adding any further words after “thank you”. A beaming smile is another way of thanking them, it also helps me to focus solely on their words and how much I appreciate them instead of validating the compliment or wondering what was really behind the compliment. Speaking of that, we all know people who like to qualify supposed compliments (example: “You did that well…for a woman”) and other such silliness. Feel free to side eye those folks. In general, though, sincerity is sincerity. You know it when you hear/see it. If what a person says makes your heart swell a bit, a thank you and a lovely smile is all that needs to happen.


After thanking the person who complimented you and gracing them with a smile, keep it moving! That reduces the likelihood of dissecting what was said/questioning sincerity/the things we discussed before.

All that said, here’s the most important thing: empower yourself. Compliments are lovely, but I’m a big believer in women being their own biggest fans. Of course, this can be easier said than done, which may be why a lot of us have a hard time accepting the compliments that come our way. Nevertheless, a compliment is like a nice treat after a good meal. Just remember that complimenting yourself should always be the main course.


Photo courtesy of Some EE Cards

Thanks for stopping by! What are your tips on accepting compliments? I’d love to hear them! For more of my writing, check out my blog at www.okyerewa.com. You can also find me on the ‘Gram at @frowriter.

Cover photo courtesy of www.hellobeautiful.com
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Shirley Davis is a Ghanaian-American fictionista, blogger, and natural hair enthusiast who pretends not to be competitive when playing board games. You can find her on Instagram (@frowriter), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MondayGrrl), and Twitter (@shebeingme).
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