How to Receive and Give Compliments for Inner Peace and Happiness

“A compliment is verbal Sunshine.” ~ Robert Orben

Do you love receiving compliments? I do 😉 I love giving and receiving compliments. Its like an immediate boost to your mood na … 🙂

Compliments: The giving and receiving of compliments may be one of the simplest and most underused tools towards gaining inner peace, serenity, and a sense of self. However, often we find it difficult to take in positive messages and compliments. We get nervous or defensively brush off the kind words of others. A few people may even discount flattering remarks and begin arguing with the compliment giver!

Why We Reject Compliments:

Some reasons we may reject compliments include:

  • Analyzing the compliment and wondering, “What did they really mean?”
  • Uncomfortable or embarrassed with the attention of a compliment
  • Feeling unworthy or undeserving of the compliment
  • Expecting the compliment to be followed with a criticism
  • Rejecting compliments due to a lack of self-esteem
  • Being used to putting self down first before someone can beat us to the punch
  • Not wanting to feel obligated to give a return compliment
  • Simply not knowing how to handle the compliment

When you find that you’re having difficulty graciously accepting compliments, it might be time to explore your own resistance. Be curious. Ask yourself what you are afraid will happen if you opened yourself to receive a compliment? Does the compliment seem to be the reverse of what you currently believe about yourself? What choice would you have to make so you can relax, breathe, and accept a compliment?

Why should you Accept a Compliment?

What’s important about receiving compliments is that it opens your heart to yourself. Accepting compliments can be a useful tool in the journey of self-discovery. Who are you really, beneath the limiting lies of self-doubt that you have learned to believe about yourself?

It is true that you do not require the approval of others to be happy and peaceful. Compliments and approval are a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. In fact seeking the approval of others is generally a diversion for refusing to give yourself the peace and happiness you seek. However, people who can’t accept compliments tend to be more down on themselves and less positive about their abilities and attainments. Accepting compliments is a step, a model to learn from, of how to give yourself praise and approval.

By opening to accept compliments, you can begin to see yourself through another person’s perception. You can notice yourself in a new light, and become aware of what is right about you. You can acknowledge that you are good and worthy, loveable and likeable. Compliments can allow you to know and accept yourself. You can love yourself today and love yourself for who you will become tomorrow.

Here is the ‘How’ to Receiving Compliments

The most simple, effective, and graceful way to accept a compliment is to say a simple, “Thank you.” You do not need to offer rebuttals, return compliments, or explanations. Here are a few effective sample responses to a compliment:

• Thank you. I appreciate that.
• Thank you, your words mean a lot to me.
• Thank you, I value your input.
• Thank you, that is very kind.
• Thank you, I had a lot of help reaching this success.

Try out a few of these responses until you find one that you feel comfortable saying. Then practice it until it flows naturally.

Also, notice how your body typically responds when compliments are given. Does your heart constrict, your chest tighten, or your breathing become more shallow? If so, the next time you receive a compliment, take a deep breath and physically relax any area of your body that feels tense. Reassure yourself. Breathe in the beauty of what was offered and accept it into your body. Acknowledge within yourself that you are worthy of receiving such beauty from the world. Tell yourself that it is now safe to receive.

How to Give Compliments Generously

Offering compliments allows you to see abundance and beauty in all forms. Instead of noticing what is wrong about you, the world, and others, you begin noticing what is right and beautiful. Offering a heartfelt compliment opens your energy to a higher level. You release tension in your body, soften your resistance to the world, and fill yourself with love and a sense of peace. Expressing beauty to yourself or to another creates beauty in your soul.

However, sometimes when we offer a sincere, deeply felt compliment, we inadvertently find ourselves on the receiving end of a deflected compliment. The unexpected rebuff can feel confusing and suck the positive energy out of the air. There we are, tenderly opening our heart and sharing what we found beautiful or inspiring, and in turn our love is rejected. It can be tempting to avoid offering compliments as freely in the future.

Perhaps, even though someone was unable to accept a compliment in our presence, we might only be seeing his or her initial response. I remember when I was much younger, if someone would offer me a compliment, I would initially turn aside the comment. I suppose I felt undeserving or perhaps even cautious. Yet, later on, when I was alone, I would imagine the compliment as a gift, beautifully wrapped and just waiting for me. In the safety of my own space, I would take the compliment out of storage and gently unwrap my gift. It was a beautiful present just waiting for me to receive it into my life.

Now, when I run into someone who is not easily able to accept a compliment in the moment, I pause to consider the greater possibilities. Perhaps they too will take the compliment out of storage when they feel safe and ready. And the love within the compliment will be there when they are most ready to receive it!

Finer art of Giving a compliment

Lets never underestimate the value of a compliment. A compliment, given sincerely and openly, shows your appreciation and caring.

The main guideline to giving a compliment is to be sincere and genuine.

Ask yourself to recognize what is important, what needs to be spoken, and what can be offered as a selfless gift. Then open your heart and send your words with sincerity. Allow your voice and tone to convey the truth of what you speak.

Always use “I” messages to convey your compliments. For example, rather than saying, “You are such a calm and strong person,” you can say, “I value your calm nature and your show of strength.” A good “I” message is more difficult to be deflected or argued against. In addition, “I” messages are personal revelations, while “you” messages are judgements.

Some examples of complimentary messages include:
• One thing I value about you . . .
• One thing I admire about you . . .
• I think it was really inspiring the way you . . .

To many, it can feel frightening to give or receive compliments if you are not used to do that. And that’s ok! But it can also help you to start noticing good things about yourself and other people, increase positive energy, and bring a sense of connection. You deserve to feel good. So try opening up, just a little bit, to real compliments. A sincere compliment, whether given or received, can transform the day and make you feel like a good person. What could be so bad about that?

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you love to give and recieve compliments? Whats the most memorable compliment you ever recieved? Do share your thoughts in the comments below. Lets get complimenting 😉

Oh and before I forget….. YOU ARE AWESOME! 🙂

With Immense Love & Gratitude,
Counseling Psychologist/ Spiritual Counselor
Motivational Speaker/Naturopath
Holistic Healer/Writer

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14 thoughts on “How to Receive and Give Compliments for Inner Peace and Happiness

  1. Thanks Zeenat,

    I am happy to receive being awesome. I love your phrase verbal sunshine.
    I appreciate the wise & cheerful messages your post.

    You are sunshine manifesting!

  2. Fuuny I was thinking about this today, I typically try to pay compliments tto people and its amazing how dis-trusting people are of compliments. Also I find that many reject the compliment immediately, but I have also found that if I continue to compliment people over time they realize the sincerity of it.
    Often when I train offices on development I try to show people by example that compliments mean a great deal to people and ultimately to the person paying the compliment.

    Enjoyed this article and feel its worthy of reblogging to my friends.
    Thank you
    SUNSHINE : )

  3. Dear Zeenat,

    As always, you demonstrate a breath of wisdom. On the one hand, I think we shouldn’t be too dependent on receiving compliments. Then, you addressed that immediately! At the same time, you pointed out that those of us with self-esteem maybe really, really do need the nourishment but find it hard to receive. I loved all the ways that you suggest for receiving a compliment. I always try to acknowledge a compliment in one of these ways. I agree it really is a gracious way of being. We can see our good qualities and appreciate them without getting a big head over it all! Very lovely article!

  4. synchronicitybridge

    “A compliment is verbal Sunshine.” ~ Robert Orben

    Good morning Z!

    And so I awoke this morning happily going out to tend to my glorious peace garden to find that in the ‘Darkness’ of the night my marauding grub loving friend so happily uprooted my wondrously slowly growing *Sunflower*.

    Let’s see… “Dear skunk *I* think you cultivate holes beautifully and are so *Uprooooooting*!

    If by chance *I* were to finally meet *Dear Skunk* perhaps I would ‘receive’ a compliment from him like this:

  5. I used to be good at deflecting compliments when I was low on self-esteem – not anymore – I lap them up and give them freely too. The compliments and the ‘I-love-you’s’ are an important part of my life now. Thanks for another fab post, Zee.

  6. A couple of years ago, I was sitting next to a woman at a meeting. All of a sudden she leaned over to me and whispered, “You have a beautiful smile.” Talk about verbal sunshine! I’m sure she has no memory of that, but I have been smiling ever since!

  7. Dear darlings,

    Thank you for all your loving comments here! I have read and love them all, as I love each and every one of you 🙂

    The reason I have been missing from the blog this past few days, is cause My little girl, Hubby and me are suffering from a viral flu/fever. Hence my time and energy is being spent in resting and taking care of my family. I do know you understand.

    Please do pray for our speedy recovery. I don’t like staying in bed and sneezing continuously…

    Lots of love to you all~

    1. synchronicitybridge

      Dear Zeenat,

      May this passage from the book ‘Seven Arrows’ by Hyemeyohsts Storm (my copy I bought in 1972) be a prayer for a return to health for you and your family:

      “You are a Great Brother,” said the Wolf, “for Now I have my Memory, But you are Blind. I am the Guide into the Sacred Mountains. I will Take you there. There is a Great Medicine Lake there. The most Beautiful Lake in the World. All the World is Reflected there. The People, the Lodges of the People, and All the Beings of the Praires and Skies.”

      “Please Take me there,” Jumping Mouse said. The Wolf Guided him through the Pines to the Medicine Lake. Jumping Mouse Drank the Water from the Lake. The Wolf Described the Beauty to him.

      “I must Leave you here,” said Wolf,” for I must Return so that I may Guide Others, but I will Remain with you as long as you Like.”

      “Thank you, my Brother,” said Jumping Mouse. “But although I am Frightened to be Alone, I Know you must Go so that you may Show Others the Way to this Place.” Jumping Mouse Sat there Trembling in Fear. It was no use Running, for he was Blind, but he Knew an Eagle would Find him Here. He felt a Shadow on his Back and Heard the Sound that Eagles Make. He Braced himself for the Shock. And the Eagle Hit! Jumping Mouse went to Sleep.

      Then he Woke Up. The surprise of being Alive was Great, but Now he could See!

      Everything was Blurry, but the Colors were Beautiful.

      “I can See! I can See!” said Jumping Mouse over again and over again.

      A Blurry Shape Came toward Jumping Mouse.

      Jumping Mouse Squinted hard but the Shape Remained a Blur.

      “Hello, Brother,” a Voice said.

      “Do you Want some Medicine?”

      “Some Medicine for me?” asked Jumping Mouse. “Yes! Yes!”

      “Then Crouch down as Low as you Can,” the

      Voice said, and Jump as High as you Can.”

      Jumping Mouse did as he was Instructed. He Crouched as Low as he Could and Jumped! The Wind Caught him and Carried him Higher.

      “Do not be Afraid,” the Voice called to him.

      “Hang on to the Wind and Trust!”

      Jumping Mouse did. He Closed his Eyes and Hung on to the Wind and it Carried him Higher and Higher. Jumping Mouse Opened his Eyes and they were Clear, and the Higher he Went the Clearer they Became. Jumping Mouse Saw his Old Friend upon a Lily Pad on the Beautiful Medicine Lake. It was Frog.

      “You have a New Name,” Called the Frog.

      “You are Eagle!”


      Thank you Zeenat…I am greatful for the healing I have received from you my Eagle Sister.

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  9. Hiten Vyas

    Hi Zeenat,

    I loved your post on compliments. I loved the idea of using the word ‘”I” when giving compliments. I just tried this on myself and can see how it would work well. I find if people give me a compliment and provide some further information on what they liked, then the compliment means even more to me.

  10. Pingback: Giving Compliments | Living Thoreauly

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