Why are compliments so uncomfortable?

So here’s a question for you. Why is it, that when you’re recognised for a job well done, thanked for something you just do anyway, sent a gift just because you did something nice, recognised in a big group for an action that at the time was relatively small to you, it makes you feel so bloody uncomfortable? You know the feeling. Almost embarrassed and you feel so totally unworthy of all the attention.

The great news – you soon get used to it and will eventually thrive in all the love. You can’t help but feel any other way. But it does beg the question – when did we all become so cynical that we just accept we don’t get recognised? You won’t be surprised to hear I have a theory 😉 But hey, just my take on it.

Before I start on the theory, let me just let you in on a little secret. I am without a doubt the world’s worst at accepting a compliment. Seriously, I’m that annoying person, that rather than just saying thank you says that ‘get you out of the uncomfortable situation’ response yeah but…. (fill in the words to fit the situation). I annoy myself sometimes if I’m honest. But is it any wonder that giver of said compliment pauses next time they want to just say something nice? I mean, who wants to be questioned on their motives for being nice when they were simply speaking from the heart? So actually, there’s the first part of the theory. Even when the brave stand up and show the love, they’re faced with a wall of cynicism! Questioned on their honesty. And so the vicious cycle continues.

Let’s move this into the workplace for a moment. Who here would consider themselves a grafter? Let me define that. Someone that just quietly gets the job done. Not big on shouting about everything, more concerned with making sure you do your best and you deliver. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure that’s appreciated. But with all the noise you’re easily forgotten. You just get lost in the everyday busyness. Now imagine quietly plugging away at your own business, thinking no one is watching when suddenly you’re receiving messages congratulating you for a great idea, being asked for advice, being told your amazing for just getting on with it. Yeah but…..

So I’m going to share the ultimate ‘uncomfortableness’ in recognition now… Wow, this was dumping me up s@+t creek without a paddle! Imagine getting a promotion… A nice 3% pay rise in just 6 months. All good. But not your usual email announcing the promotion as you might expect. Hell no. Let’s recognise the promotion, on a stage at the NEC, in front of 2000 people. Brilliant. Sure fire way to set the anxiety off right there! This was absolutely so far out of my comfort zone it wasn’t even funny. There are many witnesses that can confirm I was a rabbit in headlights that day. But weirdly, once the shock had passed, I actually quite enjoyed it. In fact I more than enjoyed it, what a buzz! Get me back on that stage I say!

So have we just become so scared of recognising each other that we just don’t bother anymore? If you try to recognise you’re questioned, if you’re recognised there must be an ulterior motive? Who knows why we are where we are. But I for one will be making a real effort to a) not fear telling someone when they’re doing good and b) just accepting when someone has something nice to say to me. Hand on heart, this is my biggest learning curve. And you know what, it won’t change the world. But I’m pretty sure it will make my world a better place.

Laters lovelies xx





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