Welcome to Jealousy Junkie!
Feb. 21, 2023

25: Why Cant You Absorb a Compliment

25: Why Cant You Absorb a Compliment

Did you know you're being rude when you shrug off a compliment?  After blowing off a compliment my husband gave me, he asked "Why can't you just absorb a compliment"?  

That made me wonder... why can't I?  What's behind that?  

What I learned was much more than I expected and realized we're actually being rude when we don't respond appropriately to a compliment.

I also have a challenge for you and give you some science behind why it's hard to give compliments and why you should practice absorbing and believing the compliment you're being given.

For one-on-one coaching with me, schedule your FREE, 30-minute Clarity Call to see how I can help

For further support, join the Jealousy Junkie Facebook Group

Grab the 5 Must-Haves To Overcome Jealousy

What's your attachment style? Take the FREE Quiz to find out

Jealousy Junkie Website

Connect with your host, Shanenn on Instagram

The information on this podcast or any platform affiliated with Top Self LLC, or Jealousy Junkie is for informational and entertainment purposes only. No material associated with Jealousy Junkie podcast is intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or treatment and before taking on or performing any of the activities or suggestions discussed on the podcast or website.


[00:00:00] Shanenn Bryant: As a Jealousy Junkie, you may wear an invisible shield of armor protecting you from getting hurt, protecting you from being vulnerable, but unfortunately also protecting you from positive things like absorbing a compliment. 

[00:00:21] Shanenn Bryant: Toward the end of my super jealous days, I was starting to get a handle on things and implementing the techniques that I learned and changing my mindset to tame the jealousy.

[00:00:31] Shanenn Bryant: But there were still a few things that I needed to work on and my husband happened to point out one of them, and I wanna share this with you so you can get a jumpstart. 

[00:00:43] Shanenn Bryant: One evening we were cooking dinner. I, for whatever reason, was still in my work clothes. Normally, as soon as I get home, or if I'm done working for the day, I get in my comfy PJs as soon as I can.

[00:01:00] Shanenn Bryant: But for some reason this day I was still in my dress clothes and he looked at me as we were cooking dinner and he said, "You're pretty". To which I of course responded, "Oh, oh my gosh, please, I hate this outfit. And I barely have any makeup on. And did you notice how much my hairdresser cut off the back of my hair this time? I hate it. It is so short". 

[00:01:25] Shanenn Bryant: And he turns to me and says, "Why won't you just absorb a compliment?" And I thought, I don't, I don't know. And all of this really made me think of the ironic fact that when we are in that extreme jealousy and we're letting jealousy be really the driver of our life, you need constant reassurance. You feel as if you need constant reassurance, and yet when you get it, you put up your shield and deflect it. You don't absorb.

[00:02:57] Shanenn Bryant: So when my husband posed this question to me of why won't you just absorb a compliment, of course I had to research. Now that it was out there, I was curious too, and what I found was very interesting and way more than I actually expected.

[00:03:16] Shanenn Bryant: First, did you know that it's actually hard for someone to give you a compliment in the first place, whether it's a coworker, a friend, and yes, even your partner? It is hard. They have to get up the courage to give that compliment. 

[00:03:35] Shanenn Bryant: The Harvard Business Review published in an article about a study that they did where the participants were asked to estimate how another person would feel after receiving a compliment, and then they asked the group who received the compliments, how it felt to get them, and they found out that people way underestimate how good a compliment feels to the person that's getting it; to the recipient.

[00:04:04] Shanenn Bryant: And here's the really wild and more interesting part is they also found that about 50% of the participants who wrote down the compliment that they were supposed to share with their friend, they never sent it. Like they did the hard part of actually coming up with a compliment to give someone, writing it down, but then half of them never said it to the person. They never gave it to them. 

[00:04:33] Shanenn Bryant: That's because people find it hard to give compliments in the first place. We actually start to doubt ourselves about giving the compliment, like, you know, what if my delivery's awkward? What if they don't like me already? What if I seem too desperate or too vulnerable, or like I'm trying too hard? Even our romantic partners feel this. 

[00:04:59] Shanenn Bryant: And I realized after I read that study, I was like, oh my gosh, this is so true. Like even though I have been with my husband for 13 years at the time of this recording, I do sometimes sense a bit of, you know, I don't know if I'd say nervousness, but maybe a quick like, Should I say this or not? Kind of that quick flash thought about, you know, telling him he looks good or how much I appreciate him. There is a little bit of hesitance there. 

[00:05:33] Shanenn Bryant: I still feel that way and apparently it's a pretty natural feeling that we all feel a little apprehensive at times about giving a compliment to certainly strangers, to our friends, but even to our partner.

[00:05:48] Shanenn Bryant: And I thought about this and thought, you know, it's interesting cuz I don't know how many times, you know, 10 times a week, maybe it's more where I think something positive about my husband or I think in my head, oh he looks really good today, or he looks extra good today. Or I like those pants on him. Or, that was sweet that he went the extra mile to do, you know, whatever it is. 

[00:06:15] Shanenn Bryant: But there are things throughout the week and times throughout the week where I think something positive, but then I don't say it. Sure. Sometimes it may be because I forget, like I may forget to tell him, but I think a lot of times he may be in the room with me and I just decide not to say it. If you think back, you can probably recall times where you've done that with your partner. 

[00:06:42] Shanenn Bryant: I just wanna point out that it most likely is happening the other way around. Your partner is probably thinking way more often than we think they are. Something positive about you, or they're having a thought about how good you look or how smart they think you are, or how proud they are of whatever it is.

[00:07:02] Shanenn Bryant: I'm sure that they're thinking it, but we as humans just get apprehensive to say it. And so I'm sharing this with you because if you are a Jealousy Junkie, most likely you keep sort of this mental scorecard that you're, you know, tracking the lack of, or the inconsistency, the fading romantic gestures that your partner does, because you're still trying to find ways to "know" if they love you or not. And your romantic scorecard is one of these resources that you. 

[00:07:40] Shanenn Bryant: So I really want you to consider first that your partner is probably questioning, doubting themselves before giving you a compliment, or they don't give it because they just maybe feel awkward no matter how long you've been together. This could be one reason that they're not overflowing you with compliments, especially if, which is my point number two. If then you go in poo poo their compliment. 

[00:08:11] Shanenn Bryant: It's actually so rude! If you think about it like now, especially that you know, it takes people courage to give a compliment no matter how close they are to you, no matter how long you've known them. There is this thing where they have to gather some courage to give you the compliment.

[00:08:32] Shanenn Bryant: And now if you're poo-pooing it, like we probably do. It's so rude. They finally muster up the courage to say something positive to you, and then you throw up your shield of armor and you reject it. 

[00:08:49] Shanenn Bryant: Here's some things we normally say. I have definitely caught myself saying in the past to shrug off a compliment.

[00:08:56] Shanenn Bryant: I might say, "Oh, please. You're just saying that", especially if it's my partner, it's always like, you're just saying that because I've been fishing for compliments. If it's a compliment on my appearance, I'll usually say something like, "Whatever I look like crap today." 

[00:09:12] Shanenn Bryant: Or you may counter the compliment and let the other person know why what they're saying isn't true. One example that I use is my hair. I have always, for years and years, received compliments on my hair. It is thick, it's long, and it does hold a good curl. So, I've received compliments from men, from women as long as I can remember, to the point where I came up with, because I just couldn't receive the compliment. I felt weird about it. I felt strange absorbing that I might have some feature that others may find attractive. I just couldn't accept that about myself, and so I came up with sort of a standard line that I would say anytime someone said something positive about my hair, I'd say, 'Oh yeah, but you don't have to blow dry it; it's terrible.". 

[00:10:15] Shanenn Bryant: That was my shield up. That was my way. No matter how many people said it to me, instead of just receiving the compliment, I would find a way to not accept it, to not absorb. And you know, right now I'm just spitting out physical compliments just because that's what's top of mind for me because this podcast focuses on your romantic relationships, but it could be at your job too, or through friends. Maybe someone told you how great you did on a specific project, or what a great idea you had in a meeting. We don't really discriminate when it comes to putting our sign out that reads, I'm not accepting compliments. So we do it at home and we do it at work. 

[00:11:06] Shanenn Bryant: So for this reason alone, it's important that you learn the skill of absorbing a compliment because it's rude to the other person not to. If you don't wanna do it for yourself and you're not quite there yet of feeling okay accepting compliments and absorbing it, and actually believing there might be something good about you. If you're not at that point. Okay, we'll keep practicing, but for now, keep it in your mind that it's just kind of rude to not respond in a positive way when someone gives you the compliment. t\They took the time and they gathered the courage, so to speak, to give you the compliment. Just accept it politely. 

[00:11:50] Shanenn Bryant: Now I realize that that may be hard for you and. It's another skill that's really important to incorporate as you move to tame your jealousy. So to help you along a bit, I'm gonna give you some responses that you can use until you start to actually believe the compliments being said to you. But I do wanna challenge you to start right now at least thinking through when you are using some of these responses that, Hey, you know what, maybe it could be true what they're saying. Maybe I am funny at times. Maybe my hair does look good today. Maybe I am smart, creative, whatever the compliments are that are flowing your way. But here are some responses. 

[00:12:38] Shanenn Bryant: So one response might be just simple. "Thank you. I appreciate you telling me that."

[00:12:47] Shanenn Bryant: Another, "Well that really made my day. Thank you." 

[00:12:53] Shanenn Bryant: "That's really nice of you to say. I think the same thing about you." 

[00:12:56] Shanenn Bryant: Or "That's really nice of you to say. I appreciate that." 

[00:13:02] Shanenn Bryant: "You're so nice for saying that. It really puts a smile on my face" 

[00:13:06] Shanenn Bryant: or "You just changed my whole day around." 

[00:13:10] Shanenn Bryant: "That's so nice to hear especially coming from you." 

[00:13:13] Shanenn Bryant: Now, I wanna say the, especially coming from you should not be a dig on your partner. Like you shouldn't use it as especially coming from you since you never give me compliments or especially coming from you because you never notice stuff like that. No. It should be things that are positive about them.

[00:13:37] Shanenn Bryant: So for example, maybe they're complimenting your cooking and you made something that they normally make. So the, especially from you, part could come in, you know, That's so nice to hear, especially from you since your pasta's always so good, or especially coming from you because you're the person I wanna look good for or whatever.

[00:13:57] Shanenn Bryant: But you get the point, the, especially from you should be something positive about them, not because you're tracking and keeping that mental scorecard about them not giving you compliments. And I get in the beginning when you're feeling really jealous, maybe you just found this podcast because you just started searching for some guidance or ideas on how to overcome extreme jealousy. I get how the negative is easier to believe than the positive. So again, if you can't absorb the compliment for yourself yet, Absorb it, or at least put down your shield and respond appropriately to someone, yes even your partner, who generated the courage to give you the compliment. 

[00:14:49] Shanenn Bryant: But here are some things that I want you to consider about why you should actually absorb it for yourself too.

[00:14:57] Shanenn Bryant: There was another study that was done. They used MRI imaging. It showed that your brain literally lights up the same way as when you get money. So when you get a compliment, your brain lights up the same way as if somebody handed you over money or, uh, you got a monetary gift. So we know that it makes us feel good.

[00:15:24] Shanenn Bryant: It physically does something to our brain when we receive a compliment. So knowing that, I think it's just really important that you actually learn to absorb that compliment and believe that compliment, especially if you struggle to trust yourself on what's right or what's wrong. 

[00:15:48] Shanenn Bryant: And I know that we do that all the time, you know, is should I be upset about this? Should I not be upset about this? Is it just because of my jealousy? You're constantly struggling to trust. Potentially you are a very black and white thinker. You know, if this equals good, this equals bad. There's no question or other reasoning possible. It's just this equals this and this equals this. No discussion.

[00:16:16] Shanenn Bryant: If you are that way, you have to on some level, rationally know that you must have strengths as well as what you perceive as your negatives or your weaknesses. I know there's the very investigative part of you that understands this to be true. You have strengths and times that you look extra physically appealing and times when you do that cute thing you do and times when your partner's overly proud of something that you did or just they happen to think about all the things you do for them or for the household, or they think about how caring you are and they get up the courage to say it.

[00:17:02] Shanenn Bryant: I know you understand if you're that all or nothing, black and white thinker, as I mentioned. Then you can logically understand you have good to your, what you perceive as bad, a white to your black, a strength to your weakness. So learning to change your mindset to absorbing this and the compliments that you receive is just another way to learn it's okay to put down your shield sometimes and just receive the compliment. It's good for you. 

[00:17:36] Shanenn Bryant: Struggling with extreme jealousy often keeps you in that negative mindset where you're viewing yourself as bad or weird or wrong or annoying, or whatever those harsh things that you're saying to yourself. Just practice taking in some positive ones. Bring in some good to balance that negativity. And also keep in mind when someone gives you a compliment, but you continuously turn them down or shrug off their compliment, they might stop doing it. And I know that that's not what you want. You wanna hear those nice things. You crave wanting to hear that. So stop pushing it away when it does come and really take it in. 

[00:18:22] Shanenn Bryant: So my challenge to you is the next time anyone gives you a compliment or your partner in particular gives you a compliment, take it graciously and give a response deserving of the effort that it took them to give that compliment to you and then work on actually believing it.

[00:18:46] Shanenn Bryant: If you need some guidance on learning how to see your amazing qualities or if you're struggling with extreme jealousy or wanna feel more secure, the link to schedule your FREE Clarity Call to talk with me is in the show notes. 

[00:19:00] Shanenn Bryant: And if you happen to be enjoying this podcast, I'd love it if you gave a five star rating and leave a review. Your positive ratings and reviews lets other jealousy sufferers know that this might be worth listening to and that there are many others feeling the same way as them. 

[00:19:20] Shanenn Bryant: Until next time, take care. And remember, you're not alone.