How to Receive a Compliment

January 26, 2011 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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Have you ever thought of how you respond when someone compliments you or appreciates what you have done?


Rabbi Michol Gourarie photo: Henry Benjamin

When someone says: “Here is a small gift as a token of appreciation for all of your help,”  do you say:


a) Thank you that was so kind


b) You really shouldn’t have, it was so unnecessary


When your friend tells you that you really look good today do you say:

a)      Thank you


b)      Are you kidding? I was so late today that I rushed out looking like I have gone through a battlefield!


If you give a presentation and someone from the audience comments that it was interesting, inspiring and well presented, do you say:

a)      Thanks for the feedback


b)      You are too kind, I don’t think I made that much sense today

One of the foundations of human experience is healthy relationships. Successful relationships are nurtured by a principle of giving and receiving. Giving to and receiving from each other creates a bond and brings us closer.

Sometimes we find it hard to give because it involves sacrifice. Whether we are giving something tangible, sharing a secret or acknowledging someone else’s strength, we often feel threatened that something is being taken from us and we are becoming weaker.

But receiving can also be hard. Our insecurity or false pride makes it difficult to take something graciously.  We might either feel unworthy or not want to show dependence on others.

But just as giving is so critical to the development of healthy relationships, so is receiving. Just as we must give we must also facilitate the ability for others to give. Making it difficult for someone to compliment us deprives them of that opportunity.

So if someone gives you a compliment, you don’t have to brag or show off but you can graciously accept it with a simple, smiling ‘thank you’.

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