The art of saying thank you; why we fail and what we can do about it.


The blinking line on my computer is taunting me. I know I want to write about the hard truth but struggle with the words. If you focus long enough, you can hear every ticking clock and sound surrounding you.

Why do I shy away from writing about the truth of my own faults? Maybe it is because people tend to not want others to know and we don’t want to be judged. Guilty as charged.

The other day I spent an hour long car ride talking out loud about my frustrations the things I feel guilty for. Yes I am admitting talking to myself don’t judge me. I know you were not but my inner voice says you might be just a little bit.

So the words of guilt just kept pouring out. Guilty that I don’t spend enough time with my kids, guilty for not seeing my grandparents enough, guilty for not cleaning the house enough, for not cooking enough, for not seeing my friends enough, for not exercising, for not doing more in the community, for not reading the bible more, for not….guilty for being guilty so much.

It is these exact feeling of guilt that creep into our minds when someone gives us a compliment. Our normal response, nothing; we either stare or deflect. We run screaming in the other direction. No I am not good enough to receive a compliment of having cute clothes or good hair.

Why do we do this? We often look back and think of all the things we would have said or should have said but never actually say them.

Just recently someone at my church complimented me of always dressing so nicely each week. I apparently said nothing back without even realizing it and they called me out on it and said “the proper response is thank you”. Wow I hadn’t even realized that I hadn’t responded. I was in my head thinking of how to respond with a joke or deflection without even knowing it.

So in hope to get myself and others to respond better to compliments my search took me to the internet of knowledge. Ahhhhh (If you can’t hear the sound it should be something like this).

In a nutshell an article I read Self-Worth: The Real Reasons Women Can’t Take a Compliment Anymore said:

  1. We think we are not being humble.
  2. We don’t accept it.
  3. We think it is creepy.
  4. We have auto responses burned into our brains that are armed and ready with a comeback.

“We have a hard time accepting compliments that can make us feel beautiful because deep down, we still have to accept that we are beautiful. Period.” –Aleksandra Slijepcevic

The second article I found Ohh, So This Is Why So Many Women Can’t Take a Compliment had some great points as well. Be cautious of the video embedded if you are not familiar with Amy Schumer. Personally I think she is hilarious but if you don’t like swearing and to push the boundaries of humor you may not like this one.

  1. We learn from what we hear. Women tend to respond this way so we feel we should as well.
  2. We have been trained to do it since women are the worst offenders of criticizing other women for being confident.
  3. Inside our minds we don’t believe we are good enough.

So in a nut shell what can we do to try and improve on our reactions?

  1. Pay Attention.
    1. How do you react?
  2. Think About.
    1. Why is this person complimenting you. Maybe they are just trying to start a conversation.
  3. Pause.
    1. The act of pausing will help you focus on how to respond. But of course in my case don’t pause too much because then you might respond with the wrong thing or nothing at all and get called out. This in the end could be a good thing to help you try harder next time.
  4. Don’t judge yourself if you don’t get it right the first time.
    1. As they say: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
  5. Call each other out.
    1. Be cautious with this one because it could make others more insecure. Maybe try asking people you trust to call you out when you do it.

Oddly enough the next day after I wrote this I received a compliment on my new hair color and responded with a simple thank you. I paused and it worked.

What are some ways you respond when given a compliment? Do you feel confident in yourself and if not what are some goals you can set to begin building on your confidence? Do you think equally men and women experience this the same?

Share your answer below or share my post and comment on social media. If you have enjoyed this article or any of my previous posts please follow me and sign up to receive weekly notifications. I look forward to reading your comments.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s