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Hard to Accept a Compliment? Here Are Some Reasons Why

It can be uncomfortable when someone gives a sincere compliment.

Some people shrivel up when they are complimented. They look for a place to hide, not wanting to stand out from the crowd.

Others minimize or ignore the compliment, wishing to move on as fast as possible.

Here are some reasons that it can be hard to accept a compliment.

Reason #1: Anxiety

Anxiety can make it difficult to accept a compliment. Especially social anxiety.

It can feel intimidating to stand out. Even if you are standing out for a good reason. Because of this, people will often want to escape the feelings of anxiety by quickly wanting to move on from receiving kudos at work. Or at school. Or even with a group of friends.

Reason #2: It Feels Vulnerable

To accept a compliment can mean giving space for another person’s words or thoughts to impact you. And that can leave a person feeling vulnerable. And vulnerability is uncomfortable.

It is not an unusual desire to wish to avoid feelings of vulnerability. It’s a lot more comfortable to emotionally shut down or look for ways to escape compliments.

Reason #3: Negative Thoughts About Self

Self-esteem can be a reason why people find it difficult to accept compliments from others. Negative thoughts of not being good enough can keep a person from feeling worthy of kind words.

Negative thoughts can lead to a lot of comparison. And if a person is feeling that they don’t measure up to others, it can sometimes be easier to deflect compliments by making statements such as, “It isn’t as nice or as good as you would do.”

Reason #4: Fear of Looking Prideful

No one likes to look prideful. It’s considered virtuous to be a humble person. And, so, people will feel that it will look bad to react to a compliment.

This is true for people who come from a religious or faith background. Christians will often play down accomplishments or reject compliments for fear of sinning. And Christians often come into counseling with a unique ability to reject compliments.

The fear of appearing prideful to others makes some people avoidant to compliments. They have been taught to look past or minimize accomplishments and continue to look for opportunities for personal growth.


Learn How to Graciously Accept Compliments by Practicing Thankfulness at Wellspace Counseling

Accepting compliments can be done graciously. And you do not have to tear yourself down or minimize your accomplishments to do it.

One of the first steps in doing this is to add more thankfulness into your life. Once we begin to recognize people and things we are thankful for, it becomes much easier to be thankful for what we offer. And we can be thankful for when others see and compliment that.

If you desire to be more comfortable in your identity and satisfaction, Wellspace Counseling provides therapy to individuals and couples of Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, and Portland, including help for anxiety.

Schedule your free phone consultation with Jason Wilkinson to start your journey to mental and emotional wellness.


Counseling for self-esteem and self-acceptance is not the only benefit to receiving therapy at Wellspace Counseling in Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego and throughout Portland, Oregon. Some other services you might be interested in include: Individual Counseling College and Young Adult Counseling Anxiety Counseling Couples and Marriage Counseling All Services are available via online therapy in Oregon


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