Get Better at Receiving Recognition and It’ll Change Your Life

Uncomfortable with praise? Here’s why your biggest cheerleader should be YOU.

If you feel embarrassed about receiving compliments, you’re not alone. While 88% of people associate praise with being valued, 70% of them also associate it with feelings of discomfort.

Yet, do you know you could be hurting your career by brushing off recognition? When colleagues give praise and you respond with hemming and hawing, it makes them question your credibility. They think, “Why don’t you believe in yourself?” This awkwardness can limit your professional prospects.

The same is true in your personal life. If you can’t accept a compliment gracefully, it really feels like a rejection to the person who says it. Of course, you probably don’t mean it that way – but that’s the thing about compliments. They’re like gifts to be accepted with thanks and never rejected.

Remember, responses like, “Oh, it was no big deal,” and “Other people helped, too” might feel humble, but can come off as hurtful to people who are trying to support you and recognize your accomplishment. Instead, keep your response short and appreciative.

As country music star Tim McGraw sings in his beloved hit, Humble and Kind

When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

Good advice, y’all!

5 Responses to Accept Praise

It takes some practice to learn how to say thanks gracefully. Here are five ways to say it, from simple to suave.

  1. “Thank you.”
  2. “Thanks. I really appreciate it.”
  3. “Your words mean so much to me.”
  4. “I’m working on being better at accepting compliments. Thank you.”
  5. “I’m so grateful for the recognition. I appreciate that you took the time to share it.”

Feeling It – Not Just Saying It

Even after learning how to say thanks, it can be hard to feel like you deserve it. Some people unconsciously reject praise internally, even after saying, “Thanks!” out loud. If this sounds like you, here are some things to think through.

Switch shoes. Put yourself in their shoes and see how you sound. Overly shy? Rude instead of thankful? Sometimes a switch in perspective allows you to feel more thankful.

Accept and share. If it makes you feel more comfortable, accept their thanks graciously, then return the appreciation. Acknowledge their own role in the victory by saying something like, “Thanks so much. I’m honored, and I appreciate how hard you worked on this, too.”

Assume sincerity. Stop thinking that someone is just on autopilot because they praise people all the time. Frequency of recognition doesn’t equal insincerity – it just means you deserve a lot of praise. Sure, it’s a monthly employee appreciation award, but that doesn’t make it less valuable. They chose you as the winner.

When you’re able to accept praise gracefully, on a regular basis, it often feels like an emotional weight is lifted. You no longer have the responsibility of deflecting compliments. Other people enjoy praising you and you enjoy it. That’s good news for everyone in your life – at work, at home, in your family and right within your own heart.


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