Compliments of…

Randomly, a blog post popped into mind last night while on a self-imposed “DVR date” with the hubs to wind down a busy but uber fun weekend.

The topic?

Well, it’s more of a question:

“What’s the best compliment you ever received?”

It only took me a second to answer that one for myself.

“You are so athletic.”

Who? Me? Athletic?


That’s reserved for baseball players, tennis pros, track and field superstars.

Me? I just like to workout.

And of course, I fell into the total-denial-can’t-possibly-take-a-compliment response versus gracefully accepting the compliment like I should have.

I honestly don’t even remember who gave me the compliment – oh wait, yes I do. It was my aunt who moved away about a year or two ago and was visiting this past spring. At the time, as I said, I totally brushed it off. But later…I reveled in it, secretly of course.

Why, though?

Why did I 1) not accept the compliment gracefully and 2) did I feel so surprised that someone would describe me that way?

I think it all boils down to self-perception, something I’ve found myself really digging into a lot more lately. And trying to own who I am vs. half-owning it or not owning it at all.

At the ripe old age of 31, you’d think I’d be able to fully OWN it nowadays. I can’t say that I do…at least not all the time, but I’m learning.

In fact, I just gave a certain blog bestie that very same advice: OWN it.

Guess that means it must be worth taking that same advice too then, huh? πŸ˜‰

So anyway, I of course would love your thoughts on this whole self-perception thang and what the best compliment YOU ever received was…and how it affected you (and bonus points if you reveal whether or not you took that compliment gracefully!!).


27 thoughts on “Compliments of…

  1. I used to suck at compliments but I too, am at the ripe age of 31 so I am trying to be mature and take them better instead of just laughing and saying “Whatever” Maybe it was a confidence issue or I didnt want attention laid on me? Who knows?

    I can;t think of the best one I’ve received…..bc I get them all the time HA! But I love when I hear that I am too creative or funny for my job. I work in the finance field which is very analytical and black and white. I hate it but I’m a creative bird so my humor gets my through it.

    • It definitely takes confidence to accept a compliment, true. And also true – getting over the fear of appearing “vain” if you accept a compliment without hesitation. But it’s not vain – it’s called confidence! A good thing that more women can and should embrace if you ask me.

  2. i’m so there with you. whenever i receive a compliment my reactive response is to deny it and play it down, sometimes because i think they’re just blowing smoke, or other times because i truly believe its not true. as always, great post jess (and i truly do mean it! πŸ™‚

  3. I think the best compliment I ever received was “you’re beautiful,” just because this is the hardest thing for me to accept and is where my insecurities are.

    • Totally – I don’t think you’re alone in that. It’s very hard to accept that we’re each beautiful in our own unique way. But it’s true. We are. Why not own it, right?

  4. I find it hard to accept compliments too but am getting better at accepting them. I just thought it was an Irish thing not to be good at accepting compliments.

  5. I think it’s quite a girl’s problem. We’re raised to stay decent and are told that vanity isn’t good. So we misunderstand that compliments have nothing to do with pride and over-self-confidence. Whenever someone says: “I like the dress you wear” or “Like your nail polish” I start saying “Oh, well. It’s nothing special. It was cheap or I got it in the sale”. It’s so stupid. Why can’t we just say: “Oh, thank you. How nice of you.”?

    However, I had problems in calling me a “runner”. Even after a year my answer to the question “Are you a runner?” was “Well, I do run sometimes”. And my husband always had to ad: “She just finished her first 10-km-run/half-marathon etc. and runs about 4 times a week. She IS a runner”.

    Thanks a lot for your blog post. It opens my eyes once again πŸ˜‰
    And, yes, the dress I’m wearing tonight is very pretty. Even though I bought it in the winter sale πŸ˜‰

    • I SO know what you mean – I am guilty of doing the same “downplay” move. We are crazy characters aren’t we? Just take the damn compliment already, right?? PS. I bet the dress you have on is gorgeous just like YOU!

  6. Awesome Jess! I too think that women (myself included) have a terrible time accepting compliments. If some says to me “you’ve got great legs” I will usually reply with “oh, it’s just all the running”, or “it’s these heels”, as if it’s not me that deserves the compliments, but rather the sport, or the shoe store. What!? Why can’t I just say “thank you”, and maybe say something in return?

    My physio referred to me yesterday as “one of our better athletes” and I was convinced he just did it to make me feel nice, rather than meaning it. What a load of BS eh!

    And thanks for the comment about the figure athlete angst. I need women like you in my life right now πŸ™‚

    • Right – it’s always “just” something. I know how hard you work for those great legs – but yet, when it comes right down to it, being able to say ‘hell yeah!’ when someone points out a great trait like that, is very hard. I love what your physio said – because he’s right, you are a damn good athlete!

      PS. SO glad you appreciated my comment…and that you’re listening to your body. So important. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you honest πŸ˜‰

  7. Isn’t it funny that we don’t see ourselves as athletes or athletic? That is so silly, but I’m the same way. And I’m terrible with compliments. I don’t know if it’s truly a compliment, but I’ve been told that I am inspiring. Did I take that gracefully? Oh hell no! Me? Inspiring??? Gotta be kidding me….

  8. Well sis, of COURSE you are athletic! πŸ™‚ As for me, the best compliment I got recently was that I am independent. Maybe that’s more of a trait than a compliment, but that was awesome that someone (M, actually) noticed that and loves that about me.But whenever he tells me I am beautiful I still have a hard time accepting that compliment!

    • Independent – that’s a good one, especially given who was paying you the compliment that said it. And especially knowing where you came from just a couple years ago where the term “independence” wasn’t in your vocab, or at least not to the extent that it is today. Awesome.

  9. I don’t think I’ve taken a compliment gracefully in my life–wait, when people say I write well, I can usually be graceful about it. But I can’t take a compliment on my physical features/body gracefully–it’s a perception thing for me. I feel I look fat or out of shape or tired or crummy that day, and anyone who says something nice is…just being nice. The best compliment I’ve ever received was when the BEST English teacher at my high school told me how moved he was by a personal essay I’d written that was entered in a contest. I sorta blushed and murmured under my breath like a school girl–which I was, LOL. I was too embarrassed to take it gracefully. But I definitely hugged it to myself for a long time.

    • HA, I love that story!! I think I probably did the same thing if a teacher ever told me how great my writing was or something. I was WAY worse at accepting compliments then, waaaay worse!

  10. I remember a friend telling me she wanted my legs. I thought to myself – she has to be lying, my thighs are huge! Thinking back at it now I really wish I could have just said thank you and been flattered. I totally ruined the moment with my self-image issues.
    Great post!

    • How sad, right? A great moment between friends and all you could think about was that she couldn’t possibly be serious. If someone told me she wanted my legs, I’d call that the best compliment ever!!

  11. Girl, you are the definition of athletic!! I think that is such a great compliment! I do think women, in general, have trouble taking compliments. My sisters and I talk about this a lot. I am REALLY working on this. And also, I am working on complimenting others (I often don’t because I’m afraid they “poo poo” it like most women do!). πŸ™‚

    Probably the best compliment I’ve ever received is from my niece. She said I was the best aunt because I’m fun. Hey, I’ll take it! πŸ˜‰

    • And you just topped my aunt’s compliment by calling me the DEFINITION of athletic!!! And rather than brush it off, I’ll say THANK YOU friend, you just made my night. πŸ™‚

      PS. I can’t wait for my niece to be able to utter those words to me! I’d melt into a thousand piece, I’m sure of it!

  12. That is a great compliment and so true! Not only are you athletic, but you inspire others to find their inner strength and inner athlete.

    I must say, I don’t always take compliments gracefully. My self-deprecating humor usually takes over. I am working on that. I receive compliments from my students everyday and they always mean a lot to me.

    • Aw thank you girl! That was the sweetest compliment!! And see? I took it…a little easier to take in writing than in person though I think. Hehe. I’ll work on that. πŸ˜‰
      I think it’s great that your students compliment you, that is so cute!!

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  14. Oh boy. What is it with accepting compliments? My husband, while I’m sure he truly appreciates them, accepts them and says, “I know.” Haha. I don’t know how he does it, because the second I get a compliment, I clam up. I get embarrassed. I honestly don’t know HOW to accept a compliment. Sure, “thanks” would do, but I feel like I can’t always fall back on that simple answer. I almost feel like I have to, I guess, elaborate a little so that I don’t offend the giver…do you know what I mean?

    I think the most recent compliment that really got me was one from my Dad. While I always appreciate my husband’s compliments (and I get one every day), the one from my Dad hit me. He said,

    “Wow, Missy…your legs. You could be a competitor…you really look great these days.”

    Of course my first instinct was to say “thanks”, but then I went into the “but I need to work on this…” and the “if only my stomach behaved the same way.”

    Not gracious, was I? Haha. Yikes. It’s so hard. But like you…I reveled in it later.

    • That is the best compliment your dad gave you! For some reason, compliments from family always end up carrying such meaning because for them to offer it up proactively means they DEFINITELY noticed and thought it worth a compliment, you know what I mean??

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