Learning to Accept Praise and Gaining Self-Esteem

Accepting Praise is Not Selfish

If you struggle with self-esteem, you almost certainly find it difficult to accept praise. And this goes the other way, too. If you’ve noticed that you deflect compliments or reject praise, the deeper reason for this is likely connected to low self-esteem.

Sometimes, we resist praise because we think it’s egotistical. But it’s important to remember that accepting praise is not selfish or arrogant. Compliments and encouraging remarks from friends and loved ones are meant to lift your spirits. They are beliefs other people have about the good things you do, your talents, and what gifts you bring to the world.

So why is it so hard for you to accept praise even when you love the person offering it to you? It’s likely because you believe the opposite about yourself, and that sense of tension makes you feel uncomfortable. So, to ease or end the discomfort, you deflect or discount the compliment.

How to Get Better at Accepting Praise

I know it’s difficult to accept compliments for a lot of reasons, but if you have low self-esteem, it can feel impossible. The good news is, there are simple things you can do to get better at accepting compliments and praise, like:

  • Expressing gratitude: Simply saying thank you (no “buts…”!) is the easiest way to get comfortable with accepting compliments over time. It keeps you from dwelling on any discomfort with the topic, and avoids deflecting or disagreeing with compliments, which can strain your relationships and friendships.
  • Note the compliment: If you have deep self-esteem issues, noting praise you receive in a journal may make it easier to remember, and may help you reshape your view of yourself to align better with what others see over time.

Acknowledging teamwork: If you are being complimented for something you did as a group, or with a partner,

  • acknowledging that teamwork and sharing the credit can make accepting compliments a bit easier.

As with most efforts to change our mindset, getting better at accepting compliments (and the resulting improvement in self-esteem) takes time. But even making a small effort every day will go a long way toward helping you develop healthier habits.

Sometimes, it also helps me to remember how much God loves me, and how worthy He thinks I am of love. Since I trust in God, and that He is wise and understanding, trusting His love for me can be helpful when I am struggling to recognize the good things about myself.

Improving Self-Esteem: Extra Support

Sometimes you need extra support building your self-esteem. That is perfectly normal, and many people seek help with this every day. You can get a little extra support in this area from close friends, family, a faith leader, or a counselor.

Or you can talk to a mentor. Mentoring is a great way to feel heard, supported, and accepted by someone who can help guide you through some of the messier feelings that surface when working on your self-esteem.

Talk to a Hope Coach today to explore limiting beliefs you might have about yourself, and how to find freedom and joy in who you are. We are here to listen, and ready to help.

If you have low self-esteem or self-worth, you can feel better about yourself. Here are 6 easy ways to feel better about yourself today.

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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