Why Can’t Women Say Thank You When Complimented

A Winter's Breath,

Have you ever received a compliment? 

Did you make an excuse for the compliment? 

Maybe you laughed it off, or stated something similar to “oh this old thing?” or “I have not washed my hair for two days.” 

Why is it that we struggle with saying “Thank You.” 

If someone compliments an outfit, hairstyle, nails, a job well done, or almost anything, many cannot accept it, laughing, shrugging it off, or making an excuse.  

During a recent trip to Mexico,  my girlfriend was bothered by her manicure, feeling her nail polish was getting chipped. Her nails looked beautiful, but in her mind they were not. When she received a compliment on the lovely color, she proceeded into her story.  

“I’ve been traveling for two weeks, and they need to be redone. My nails are longer than I normally keep them…” The woman behind the counter stated, why did you have to tell me that? You could have simply said “Thank you.”

Bringing me to the question I ask myself all the time, Why do women struggle to say thank you? 

It is simple. 

Many women don’t feel deserving, or they don’t want to make someone else feel bad by saying thank you. Women protect themselves by deflecting compliments, especially when received by other woman. 

It’s funny, and interesting to watch. Many women crave compliments, yet we don’t want to accept them when they come our way, because we have not internalized that it is ok to say Thank You.

I used to struggle with this exact thing, and sometimes I still do. But what happened when I started saying, “Thank You?” 

At first, it felt weird. Saying a simple thank you and nothing else. It was hard to break the cycle of making an excuse or deflecting a compliment. 

After a few times of saying thank you, I realize it felt good to say it. 

I started feeling stronger. More confident. I started internalizing the compliments, and saying to myself, I love this dress, or I love my hair. 

I have naturally wavy hair. Sometimes it looks perfect straight out of the shower, but more often than not my crazy Mandy medusa hair can come out! Because of this, I built up an image that my hair always looked horrible when I let it naturally dry, so for years I laughed at every hair compliment. Because I did not physically spend an hour getting it to look just right, I did not feel I deserved a compliment. 

My first time to say thank you about my curly hair, was, well, awkward. 

It took some time, but I can tell you it changed my life. The compliments helped build my confidence. I know it sounds weird, but somehow it helped me not care if I did not spend an hour straightening and curling my hair. And it actually helped me appreciate the versatility of my locks.

Women understand bad hair days. Some days your hair just does not cooperate. We fight and struggle in the mirror, and when it does not do what we want, we may not want to even leave the house. All day we fret about the anxiety experienced in getting ready that day, and constantly tell ourselves, we look bad. 

Those little moments of not accepting compliments, hurt us immensely.  

When we can’t say thank you, it is as though we don’t value ourselves enough. And until we say thank you, we can’t break the cycle of negative thoughts.

I dare you to say thank you the next time someone gives you a compliment. 

No need to say anything else. A simple thank you will do. 

Try it. See what it feels like, and start noticing when you make excuses. Because you will, and it will remind you, “you are worth it.”

And give compliments, but only when you mean them and not when you are searching for someone to give you a boost in return. 

When you receive a compliment, it is a gift for you, a reminder you are special. When you give a compliment, it is a gift for someone else. Don’t deny yourself or someone else that gift.

So the next time you get a compliment, will you say “Thank You?” 


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