5 Reasons Most Women Have Trouble Taking A Compliment

Kari Owens
Kari Owens is a writer, holistic nutrition coach, speaker, and intuitive soul explorer whose perspective on life changed at the age of fifteen after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. Her most recent adventure was a solo road trip to moving from Florida to Seattle, WA. You can find her at her website WholeLifeFullSoul.com which connects people to the roots of whole foods and the depths of their inner most vulnerability.

We’ve all been there, someone compliments you and all of a sudden you want to crawl into a corner or hide behind a wall because it’s just uncomfortable. While your friend may think you look great, your mind says, “My hair’s a rat’s nest.” Why is it so hard for women to embrace being told how wonderful they are? Here are five reasons women struggle to accept compliments.


We aren’t sure if they’re genuine.

As a woman, sometimes it’s hard to tell where the intention of compliments come from. We may get told by other women that we have nice shoes or a pretty bag; sometimes this is genuine and other times we know it’s just to start conversation, but both objectives are particularly innocent.  However, when it comes to a man or someone that gives off the vibe of being remotely interested in “more than friends,” it’s hard to tell if a “you look beautiful” or “you’re looking nice today” is actually a sincere feeling or just a ploy to keep the conversation going for less than innocent motives. Basically, ladies are pretty skeptical when it comes to innate feelings of insincerity, and for valid reasons.


We’re easily embarrassed.

Have you seen the movie He’s Just Not That Into You? We don’t want to end up being “that girl” who reads the wrong signals and dissects every detail from their person of interest. One wrong interpretation of a compliment can send things in a totally different direction. Being complimented puts us in the spotlight, especially if it’s said in front of other people. Society has taught us that modesty is the best policy, so accepting a compliment might as well be like giving your Grammy speech. We’re great at diverting them instead of fully embracing a genuine sentiment.


We’re afraid of seeming bitchy.

If a woman is too confident – bitch. If a woman thinks highly of herself – bitch. Most people consider women who are proud of whom they are a bit of a bitch, whether that comes from another woman’s jealousy or a love interest’s struggle with their own insecurity. We should all believe that we’re the best thing that’s happened since sweet potato chips. In which case, we’d all be a bunch of bitches!


We’ve been conditioned to think we’re less than.

From your early beginnings of not getting picked to play on the sports team because you were a girl to unequal pay in the workforce, societal molds and experiences have taught girls and later women that they are far from equal to their counterparts. It sets us up for a life of disappointment where women have to hustle harder in order to be acknowledged as equal, let alone be rewarded for the merit. So in hearing a compliment, women often brush it off because we’ve been programmed to believe that we’re “less than.”


We don’t believe we’re worthy.

Getting into the heart of the heart here. When I was a little girl, I loved to play dress up with my sister. We’d put on makeup, adult clothes, and excessive amounts of costume jewelry. I’d run first to my dad, twirling around, sitting on his lap, desperate for a compliment. I wanted validation from him that I was pretty or smart or adorable. I wanted to be significant. All he needed to do was look at me and tell me I was worthy, an approval that all women seek. Traumatic experiences with our confidence play over and over like a beating drum, telling us that we aren’t worthy. So in taking compliments we may say “thank you,” but on the inside we’re revolting against the kind words because we fundamentally tell ourselves we don’t deserve it.

From now on, look at yourself in the mirror and say, I am worthy of feeling and accepting love. Now, how’s that for a compliment?

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