Tag Archives: embarrassed

The Most Appealing Way to Take a Compliment

“Power of Pink” by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

Why People Give Compliments

Some compliments are more meaningful than others. The best ones are specific, genuine, and address something that requires effort or skill. Others are less meaningful, because they are general, manipulative, or address a quality that you were born with, such as being tall.

In either case, when people give compliments, they are generally attempting to make a connection with you or to make you feel good. They feel good when they have a positive effect and when they are acknowledged. So whether the compliment is really meaningful or not, consider the other person’s feelings, and avoid focusing simply on whether you feel embarrassed and whether you deserve the compliment.

How Not to Respond to a Compliment

Imagine how a person might feel if you respond to a compliment with dismissiveness or a negative remark about yourself. For example,

“You look fantastic!”

“No I don’t. I look terrible.”

Your response is unfriendly and unappreciative. In negating the compliment, you lose vitality and desirability. More importantly, the person giving the compliment feels rebuffed.

Some people fear that they will come across as arrogant if they accept a compliment too readily. However, accepting a compliment does not mean letting it go to your head. If you know yourself, then your self-worth will not be based on casual external feedback.

There is also no need to argue against the validity or motivation of a compliment. If we do not let it inflate our ego, we do not have to worry about someone’s dubious intentions. Even if the compliment is given in an attempt to manipulate you, graciously accepting it does not mean you will let it influence your actions.

How to Take a Compliment

Taking a moment to feel gratitude when you are treated well is a gift for the person giving the compliment. Why not enjoy soaking in kind words like a few rays of sunshine? People enjoy knowing they have made someone else feel good. Letting your appreciation show with a smile, a twinkle of the eye, and a “Thank you” encourages people to continue to look for the good in both you and others.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

~Leo F. Buscaglia

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Parental Boasting for Self-Esteem:
‘Honey, I was just telling the Jones how smart and athletic you are.'”

Embarrassment vs. Humor:
“I’m embarrassed about the way I dance.”

"Wisdom of Laughter" — Einstein by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

Whether you have two left feet on the dance floor, do something clumsy, or say something embarrassing, it’s incredibly liberating to develop a sense of humor about yourself. Keeping in mind the greater scheme of things and having a long-term perspective allow you to see the humor in a situation.

When you can laugh at yourself, it shows confidence and puts others at ease. On the other hand, embarrassment (feeling awkward, self-conscious, and ashamed) calls attention to your shortcomings. People feel more uncomfortable when others are deeply embarrassed than they do when others make a mistake or dance like a klutz.

Having a sense of humor about yourself does not mean that you should belittle yourself. It simply means not to take your current situation and yourself too seriously.

In a culture where most people are not raised with music and dancing, it’s not unusual that some people feel uncomfortable on the dance floor. Yet, it’s better to transform your embarrassment than to miss out on life’s fun and adventure. Besides, with practice, we all can improve.

Humor boosts the chemistry of your brain by lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. By helping the immune system to fight infections and serving as one of the body’s primary defense mechanisms, humor helps you to become healthier and happier.

Dance and humor are a great counterbalance to our everyday cerebral life pursuits. So if someone laughs at you, just smile back and keep dancing.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD


Read “I’m really upset about my child being made fun of at school.”

Read “Embarrassing adult relatives: Scowl! “Psst! Can’t you chew with your mouth closed?’”

Reference: Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life by John B. Arden.

Email and Texting:
“I can’t believe he showed her my email!”

"Think" - Einstein by Mimi Stuart ©
Live the Life you Desire

So what I really meant was…

“I should never send an email or text that’s unsuitable to be seen by everyone.”

By imagining that anyone might see what you write, you can protect yourself from unforeseen public embarrassment, and you can cultivate the ability to communicate with taste and tact.

Tact is the art of making a point without making an enemy.

~Isaac Newton

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Regret: ‘I shouldn’t have yelled at my friend.’”

Embarrassing adult relatives:
Scowl! “Psst! Can’t you chew with your mouth closed?”

"Genius Unleashed" — Robin Williams by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

Everyone has some relative who has bad table manners, belongs to a crazy cult, or drinks too much. We tend to be hardest on those closest to us, wanting to eradicate their bad habits. Yet, showing embarrassment and disapproval tends to draw out the worst in those around us, and may reveal that we care too much about the family image.

Our relatives don’t define who we are and besides, no one is perfect. Life is too short to worry about the imperfections in those around us. Generally, a sense of humor can help us overlook our family’s extreme political views or incessant bragging.

You’re better off not trying to change adult relatives or to get them to see the light. If they haven’t changed in 20 years, they are not likely to change now. The exception would be if they became deeply motivated to change within themselves.

Abusive behavior or language, however, is another matter completely. It’s important to speak up or leave when someone is aggressive or acts inappropriately, such as name calling or exercising harsh criticism. When you respond to a verbal attack, you could say, “When you call me names, it’s denigrating to both of us, and makes me want to leave. If you have something to say to me, say it respectfully.” If they can’t stop their belittling behavior, then it’s time to limit or stop spending your time with them.

Harmless personality quirks, though, can be seen as a source of amusement rather than providing you with a mission to correct them. Challenge yourself to use your wit, creativity, and humanity to overlook imperfections and to bring out the best in those eccentric family members around you.

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.

~Robin Williams

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “I’m embarrassed that I can’t afford to go out to eat.”