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Difficulty Accepting Compliments

We Americans worship success, but when we achieve it, we often squander it.

We do not know how to manage our success any better than we manage our anger. Some of us become drunk with our success. It goes right to our head. We take leave of our adult judgement and act like kids in a toy store. After the success wears off, we are stuck with a hangover and the bills.

The secret to success is determining what our priorities are and then to make efforts and decisions based upon these priorities. The key to maintaining our priorities and feeling successful is to find balance. This means not ranking them with lesser or greater importance, but by making them all equally important. Success really equates to what pleases us and makes us happy and fulfilled.

Our negative attitudes toward success arise out of our childhood feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. These feelings predispose us to feel unworthy of success. We experience a conflict between wanting to achieve and feeling unworthy to enjoy it.

I have many clients who constantly feel under-qualified no matter how much they accomplish or how hard they work. The Impostor Syndrome is a phenomenon whereby, regardless of their achievements, people feel that they are inadequate and believe they are only masquerading as a lovable and accomplished person
One of the behaviors associated with feeling like a phony or fake is a combative hyper-vigilance from the fear of being “discovered” as an impostor. As a result, it is common for sufferers to avoid situations where they might publicly reveal their imagined incompetence. If they must face such a situation, they over-prepare in order to keep up the “facade.”

This fictitious fakeness serves the purpose of preventing impostors from enjoying the happiness and gratification that would be painfully inconsistent with their feelings of worthlessness. For insecure impostors every kind word seems fake, undeserving, and suspicious.  “She can’t really like me.  She must be after something.” That’s because their identity is not grounded in reality.

The antidote to feeling like a fraud resides in the power of choice The next time someone pays us a well earned compliment, such as, “Thanks for being there,” we can choose not to dismiss it out of existence in the name of false modesty. Instead, we can choose to simply say, “Thank you” and get on with our business.

After we have done it, we can ask ourselves a focusing question. “How am I feeling right now?” If the answer comes back, “I’m feeling pretty good.” We can choose to process this “good feeling”.

The negative thought maintains its power unless neutralized by a stronger, positive thought. With practice, eventually the positive thought will grow and associate with other positive thoughts such as, “I am a good person. There are many successes in my life. People actually do like me. I have a lot to offer.”

We can choose at any time to deploy an army of positive thoughts that will rapidly and effectively neutralize the negative ones. Then, when the same provocative situation arises to test us, our mind stays positive, poised, and peaceful.

Difficulty Accepting Compliments

Aaron Karmin


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APA Reference
Karmin, A. (2018). Difficulty Accepting Compliments. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2018/03/difficulty-accepting-compliments/

 

Last updated: 8 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 8 Mar 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.