No Party for Me? Stop Rejecting Recognition From Others

leadership communication competence leadership communication confidence Nov 21, 2022

Recently a client came to me saying she was developing significant anxiety because her professional colleagues and close family members were planning a retirement party for her.

The conversation went like this:

She said, "I want to tell them not to give me a party. I don't want one, it is all so unnecessary."

I said, "let them schedule the party, go an enjoy it, you deserve it. They've been part of your life for a long time, some as long as 34 years, and your siblings much longer than that."

She said, "But, I don't like being the center of attention, it's embarrassing. I know it's my insecurities."

I said, "think about it this way, this isn't about you, this isn't even for you. This is for them. They are doing it because they need to do this (for you). They feel a need to show their appreciation to you and share their love for you and what you mean to them. It's not about you.

"If you reject their offer of a retirement party you aren't rejecting just the party, you are rejecting their love of you and all you've meant to them and your relationship with them. Not allowing them to give this gift to is selfish."

She agreed to agree to the party and embrace the experience.

So many people I know, many clients, admit that they don't accept compliments well. This is like that, but on steroids.

When you reject, dismiss, or deflect compliments from others, think about the message you are sending.

The message you are sending is, one or more of these:

  • "No, you've made a mistake."
  • "Your perception is wrong."
  • "You don't have good judgment."

This kills the self-esteem and self-confidence of two people. Your's and their's.

If you struggle to accept and appreciate compliments from others, especially in the moment they are provided, this is due to your insecurities and low self-esteem, not any act of humility. Actually, I would probably label this "false humility" like these phrases project:

  • "Oh, it was nothing."
  • "No problem."
  • "It was no big deal."
  • "I had a lot of help." 

Be sure to avoid these phrases when replying and instead, simply respond with something like this:

  • "Thank You"
  • "Thank you for noticing, I worked really hard on that."
  • "Thank you, it was my pleasure, I was happy to help."

When you respond like that, Everyone WINs!"

Post your comments below and let's explore this concept together. Answer this question:

What is your relationship with accepting compliments and recognition?