Compliments or Apologies — I am Not Worthy

I love complimenting people on something that I admire: a new haircut, new shoes, nice outfit, a decoration, a child’s behavior, and so on. What I have noticed is how uncomfortable we are with receiving compliments. When we receive a compliment we quickly rebut by downplaying the compliment or even avoiding it, as if it’s somehow painful for us to acknowledge. The typical response is: “Oh, these shoes? I got them at Target on sale,” or “this outfit? I’ve had it for years!” or “you are just seeing my son on a good day, usually he is not this well behaved.”

Why can’t we let people see that we have a great kid? Why can’t we proudly wear an outfit regardless of the age? Why must we make excuses and deflect when we receive a compliment?

Most important: why can’t we simply say thank you when we receive a compliment? Thank you can be a complete sentence! There is no explaining necessary, no excuses needed, just a simple Thank You.

I became aware that as I was teaching my children about apologizing to each other after a disagreement, their exchange was typically something like this: “Sorry for hitting you,” and the response was, “It’s ok.” When I was really listening to this response it dawned on me: WHEN IS IT EVER OK FOR SOMEONE TO HIT YOU?

When I began to think deeper about this I realized that we adults say the same thing! Our typical response is, “it’s ok,” or “it’s fine,” or even worse, “don’t worry about it, it’s over.”


Whether it be compliments or apologies the response should be the same: “Thank you.” For some reason, this feels like a difficult response for both. The difficulty stems from the issue of worthiness and how we treat ourselves. Both a compliment and a sincere apology are energies of the heart. This means that when we deflect them, we are not allowing ourselves to take in heart energy or love energy, that we don’t feel worthy of receiving the love coming in and can’t accept it.

Ask yourself, do you allow yourself to receive a compliment or an apology? How does it make you feel when someone compliments you or apologizes to you? Are you worthy of it? 

If not, why on earth wouldn’t you be?

When did we get so good at putting ourselves down? Start practicing the response, “thank you.” This simple exercise can shift us emotionally from feelings of unworthiness to worthiness, from deflection of love for self to acceptance of love for self. Self-love is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and it all begins with a simple: Thank You.