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  • Writer's pictureSteve Braun

Receiving Gratitude

I had an amazing dinner at a friends recently except for one thing:

When I complimented them on the meal, it was completely dismissed with reasons on how it could have been better. ‘I should’ve cooked the beans longer, I didn’t use fresh herbs etc.’

I regretted saying anything.

I’ve noticed that the majority of my social circle are very adept at expressing gratitude but I wonder how many are as comfortable receiving gratitude?

While less-talked about, it is equally important for optimal relationship well-being.

Many are more comfortable accepting criticism than accepting a compliment.

Some of my clients experiencing guilt, shame or low self-worth believe they don’t deserve praise.

When complimented, they usually respond in 1 of 3 unhealthy ways:

Deflect: Brushing it off like a crumb on your jacket. Maybe you believe their gratitude is unfounded in the first place.

Reciprocate: We immediately return gratitude of our own which feels transactional. If they ‘pay’ me a compliment, I have to ‘pay’ them back right away to avoid feeling ‘in their debt’.

Discount: We give reasons why a compliment can’t be received, almost confessing our shortcomings before they are pointed out. This comes off as very dismissive.

Vulnerability plays a big part when it comes to the challenge of receiving compliments well. If we open ourselves up to love and gratitude, we also risk opening ourselves up to everything else that can go with it, like pain and loss.

So what can you do about it?

Try these 3 things:

Accept: Look into the other person’s eyes, smile and simply say, ‘thank you’.

Amplify: Soak in the praise, reflect and let it marinate for a while.

Advance: Engage by asking a question about the compliment to expand the conversation and connect deeper.


'Steve, these smoked chicken wings are fantastic!'

‘Thanks man! What was it you liked about them?'

‘They reminded me of a spice I had in Jamaica last year.’

‘That’s right–Tell me more about your trip!’

Receiving gratitude is a skill that can be learned, it just takes practice!

Express gratitude freely, and allow yourself to receive it freely. It really can make a difference in your relationships.

Steve Braun

Call or Text: 778.932.1978

About the Author: Steve currently resides in the sunny Okanagan in British Columbia Canada where he spends his free time camping at remote lakes chasing monster rainbow trout with a flyrod.

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