Accepting Compliments Is Hard Because of Anxiety

May 17, 2022 Shubhechha Dhar

"Wow, you look so pretty in that dress." -- Compliments like these are hard to accept when you have anxiety. 

Was that a compliment? Was that sarcasm? Do they actually mean it? Was that a genuine compliment, or do they feel obliged to say it as a friend?

Accepting compliments is something I have always struggled with as someone who has anxiety. My anxiety makes me question every compliment I receive. 

I have come to realize that the reason I find it hard to accept a compliment is because the compliment isn't in line with my personal beliefs. If someone calls me pretty, I'm unable to accept this as a genuine compliment because I personally don't think I'm beautiful. If someone tells me they believe in me and my ability to accomplish my dreams, I'm unable to accept this as a genuine compliment because I personally don't believe in myself

How I'm Learning to Accept Compliments as Someone with Anxiety

As someone with social anxiety, I struggle with low self-esteem. When I don't see myself in a positive light, I'm unable to believe it if someone else does. However, I'm learning to accept compliments. Here's how I'm doing it:

  1. I practice self-compassion. I'm learning to be compassionate towards myself. My social anxiety causes me to be extremely hard on myself if I don't perform well in social situations. This, in turn, causes me to think critically of myself. However, I'm learning to cut myself some slack. If my social anxiety tells me that I have messed up, I tell myself, "I'm allowed to mess up. That's what makes me human." This helps me in building self-esteem. 
  2. I praise myself. Every time I accomplish something or do something I'm proud of, I acknowledge it and praise myself. In the past, I used to be uncomfortable with praising myself because I believed that would make me arrogant. However, until I am comfortable with praising myself, I will never be comfortable with hearing praises from someone else. I'm learning to celebrate my small wins, either with my family or within myself. 
  3. I gracefully accept the compliment. Since I have a hard time accepting compliments, I usually don't know how to respond when someone gives me a compliment. If someone tells me, "You're so talented at writing," I usually think to myself, "Anybody can write. I'm not talented." But now, instead of ruminating too much on the authenticity of the compliment, I'm trying to respond with "Thank you" or "Thanks. That means a lot coming from you." By immediately responding, I don't downplay the compliment. 

Does anxiety make accepting compliments difficult for you too? Share your thoughts in the comments.

APA Reference
Dhar, S. (2022, May 17). Accepting Compliments Is Hard Because of Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Shubhechha Dhar

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