How to Take a Compliment: Let People Appreciate You

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Big Leap" by Gay Hendricks. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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How do you respond when people compliment you? Do you often shy away from accepting praise?

Many people don’t know how to take a compliment because they feel like they don’t deserve it. If you feel uncomfortable when people compliment or praise you, you likely have a self-limiting belief that the compliment contradicts.

Here’s why you may feel uncomfortable when being praised or complimented.

Do You Tend to Downplay Compliments?

If you tend to deflect or downplay compliments, that’s a sure sign that you have some limiting belief about yourself that could be holding you back. Notice what your reactions are when people compliment you, as that can reveal what the specific limiting belief is. 

In his book The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks explains how to take a compliment. His advice is simple: Simply pause any time someone compliments or praises you, take a moment to feel the positivity they’re giving you, and say “thank you.” You can use this positive energy to combat the negative beliefs about yourself. Hendricks reminds us that internalizing positive beliefs about ourselves is key to allowing ourselves to feel happiness, and thus helps combat the happiness threshold problem.

Let People Appreciate You

Research has shown that around 70% of people feel uncomfortable when they receive compliments. One reason is that we naturally feel discomfort with opposing beliefs, and when we have negative self-beliefs, a compliment will contradict that. Another reason may be that we feel praise sets the bar higher for us in the future. We may downplay accomplishments for fear that others will have higher expectations of us, and we’ll ultimately disappoint them. 

It’s important to recognize that a compliment is more about the giver than you. When someone compliments you, they want to recognize how something you did, or do, affects them. It may help ease your discomfort if you think of accepting a compliment as doing the giver the courtesy of allowing them to express their appreciation.

How to Take a Compliment: Let People Appreciate You

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Gay Hendricks's "The Big Leap" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Big Leap summary :

  • How to overcome the psychological barriers to success and fulfillment
  • Why most people have a self-imposed limit to happiness
  • How to identify your own false beliefs and stop self-sabotaging

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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