Anxiety can cause the individual who has it to be more on edge than one who does not. This can especially be true when people give us compliments. Speaking from personal experience, I know I have never liked receiving compliments, as I feel the other person either has an ulterior motive, or I just don’t like the extra attention.
As with many other scenarios, my anxiety then begins to snowball and gets me worrying about other things, heightening my sense of discomfort. I am writing this article to say we anxious individuals deserve compliments too. Below are six pointers on how to more easily accept them.
1. Believe in Yourself
Spend a small amount of time each day practicing gratitude or journaling. When you prioritize self-care, you show yourself you are just as important as the other matters you tend to. These small acts of kindness can slowly build your self-esteem. And in turn, when someone else compliments you, you’ll be more receptive.
2. You Need Nothing More Than a Simple “Thank You”
When someone sends a compliment your way, don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. Simply smile, say “thank you,” and move on. Whether or not you believe it, and hopefully you do, store it in your memory for a time when you may need it and use it as reassurance that there still are good humans in the world.
3. Give What You Get
When someone offers you words of kindness, return the favor. This can help your anxiety by turning the attention off of yourself and keep a cycle of positivity flowing. If someone tells you they like your shirt, thank them and find something about their appearance you can give kudos to. Sometimes literally talking about the item itself can also be a good conversation starter without feeling like the center of attention. “Thanks, I got it at an awesome thrift store.” Compliment received, anxiety avoided.
4. Nonverbal Acknowledgement
If you’re feeling anxious when someone has given you a compliment, reply with a simple smile or pat on the shoulder. This will let the sender know you received their message in a warm, welcoming tone.
5. Give Yourself a Breath
If you’re feeling pressured to respond immediately, take a deep breath before responding. It is better to wait and then thank the person rather than not thanking them at all. You can also send a nice note expressing appreciation and easing the tension of needing to respond immediately.
6. Sit With It
Once the literal exchange of compliments is done, take a minute to really let what the other has said to you sink in. When you know someone thinks highly of you, store it in your memory bank. This can be a good pick-me-up on a rough day and may eventually lead to higher self-esteem.
We all deserve to hear good things. Don’t take the joy out of the moment by trying to turn it into something it isn’t. This is hard, but practicing with those who truly know you can be a good starting place. Have you found an easy way to accept compliments? Let us know below!
Photo by Tim Bernhard on Unsplash