Giving and Receiving

I have written about how giving compliments feels nice, but receiving them can feel different. A high-praise compliment can feel like an expectation. People might experience a compliment as another form of pressure put on them. It potentially creates stress, and can be interpreted as a negative motivator. In a relationship, for example, people may worry so much about the expectation that a compliment suggests they become estranged from their partner. With low self-esteem it’s much easier to see a compliment as a standard you have to constantly meet, rather than a positive reflection of yourself. I’ve often felt that if I take a compliment I’m being vain and selfish, or that I  have to meet that standard next time. However, rejecting a compliment can upset the person giving them and does not feel right either. You might read this and think that each time you give a compliment it could hurt someone, or each time you fail to receive a compliment you aren’t worthy, but that’s not the point. The point is, if we acknowledge that the experience of a compliment is different for the giver and receiver we are better prepared. To give a clear, expectation-free compliment and receive a kind and supportive compliment, something we all deserve.

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