Visualize this scene and think of how you would handle it
You have just finished a presentation in front of important stakeholders for approving a project.
You’ve put in a lot of hard work and many an hour outside of work to get it just right.
The stakeholders buy-in. Your project gets the much coveted Go Ahead Signal.
A colleague walks up to you, shakes your hand and says, “Well done. You were brilliant!”.
How do you respond to the compliment?
- smile and say “Thank You”
- smile but wonder if the colleague has a hidden agenda and what he wants
- smile and brush it off saying it was not all that great and that you got lucky
Which one did you select?
Was it A? Responding with a simple smile and Thank You reflects healthy self-confidence and Assertive Behavior.
If your response was B then the suspicion on your part indicates aggressive patterns while a C reflects a low sense of self-esteem and confidence in one’s abilities.
How you respond to a compliment is a good indicator of your sense of self-esteem and self-confidence
One can learn a lot about oneself and others from the way compliments are received or given. We may not realize it but an honest compliment when given with sincerity can make a big difference to both the giver and receiver.
Assertiveness is all about having the ability to respect and admit your self-worth when receiving compliments. It is also about respecting the worth of others when giving compliments.
It may not be all that easy though. We all have our cultural backgrounds, parental and school tutoring where we may have been taught that being confident of our abilities was a sign of arrogance, how being humble was more important and not to show off.
In some cultures, there is an instilled fear of the ‘Evil Eye’ – don’t be happy if others notice your achievement, you will have bad luck!
However, there is nothing in our backgrounds that tells us that we need to be aggressive or so meek that we cannot be honest, open and direct in our communications with others. Nothing that says we cannot accept our worth as well as that of others.
When you know you have done a good job, smile, be happy and graciously accept the compliment. Maybe give a return compliment, like “Thank You. I really appreciate your support.” The choices are endless.
The next time you find yourself displaying behavior that is not assertive, take a step back and ask yourself, where is it coming from? Which limiting belief is holding you back? Is it a fear or self-perceived weakness?
If you are aware of your fear or weakness, then practice the Confrontation Technique in my post Confront and Banish You Fears and Weaknesses Better yet, do the self-coaching exercise on
Sometimes it’s more a case of lack of self-confidence and this is covered in my Kindle book Self-Confidence in 8 Steps.
So, coming back to my original question, how do you receive compliments? Tell me about it in the comments box below!
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