Did you miss yesterday’s blog? It is an interesting look at compliments with the topic Are Compliments Complimentary? Please join me on the blog and share it with others. #blog #amwriting #compliments #selfesteem




ARE COMPLIMENTS COMPLIMENTARY? We dive into both sides of the coin on this subject so join me for an informative and thought provoking blog for all of you who may have a problem accepting a simple compliment or know someone who does. You can share it with those friends who you keep telling them they have talent, are great, etc. and they don’t accept it. #blog #love #compliments #life #amwriting #lifelesson



ARE COMPLIMENTS COMPLIMENTARY? This is a topic that came to me from a friend who is expanding her horizons by writing more of her thoughts and posting them. She is a gifted writer but has a problem accepting compliments when others post encouraging and complimentary comments. I responded to her message and I don’t think she will mind me including this transfer of thoughts to set the mood for this message. Someone told me years ago that all you have to do in response to a compliment is a simple Thank You. This message is to focus on why we have so many problems with doing that simply.

Someone posted “This is good. keep writing.”

She responded, “As much as I’d like to say that I’ve broken myself from the need for affirmation and people-approval, I can’t say that I’m not thrilled when someone pats me on the back. Especially someone whose opinion I respect.”

I responded back, “This message is encouragement. May I call on your teaching experience for enhancement of the focus. When a student tried hard to improve in your class and received a higher mark it symbolized improvement. Correct? A sincere compliment given without any return expectation is the equivalent of the better grade. Take true compliments as a grade of growth and not ego driven. I see you applying God’s word to your journey and your writing is like an essay for The Masters Class. Keep them coming and share with us fellow students.”

I have captured this exchange to explore why when a heartfelt message is given, why is it hard to receive it without feeling a need to justify why a person deserves the compliment. Being humble is a virtue but it can be a hindrance to progress in a pursuit of a goal.

Is it low self esteem? Don’t panic as I want to look at both sides of this coin before I make that decision but for “heads up side” I found an interesting article and then we will do a flip side review.

Why Some People Hate Receiving Compliments

How self-esteem influences our capacity to receive praise

Posted Aug 27, 2013

I pondered this thought about low self esteem and I thought what if it is not low self esteem and maybe another reason so I dug deeper for more information and this is what I found. Look at all of the reasons or ways compliments are dismissed. I think this article opens our eyes to many explanations including low self esteem and may give us some thought provoking sessions to allow us to SIMPLY ACCEPT THE COMPLIMENTS.

10 Ways Compliments Are Dismissed

Sociolinguists place compliment responses into 3 main categories: Accept, Deflect, and Reject. These categories represent a spectrum, and most people aren’t uncomfortable at either extreme; outright denial seems rude but full acceptance feels conceited. Thus, most people seek what seems like a safe middle ground, choosing a deflecting response that dilutes and mitigates the compliment. They see compliments as hot potatoes that need to be tossed on as soon as they land in their hands.

In The Assertiveness Workbook, Randy Paterson lists some of the different ways we reject and deflect compliments, to which I’ve added a few I’ve observed myself.

1. Ignore

The recipient ignores the compliment, either because he didn’t hear it, or because he doesn’t recognize that he’s being complimented.

Compliment: “You played crazy good today – you were all over the court.”

Response: “Yeah, I’m really thirsty. Let’s stop for some Gatorade on the way home.”

2. Denial

The recipient denies the compliment outright.

Compliment: “You guys sounded so good tonight.”

Response: “Yeah right. We sounded like total crap.” 

3. Arguing

The recipient of the compliment argues against his deserving the given praise.

Compliment: “That was a really profound insight you brought up in class.”

Response: “Not really. Anyone who had read the previous cases would have come to the same conclusion.”

4. Self-Insult

The receiver downplays the praise by offering self-deprecating remarks.

Compliment: “That’s a really spiffy hat.”

Response: “Well I need something to draw attention from my ugly mug!”

5. Questioning

The receiver questions the giver’s judgment, taste, etc. in offering the compliment.

Compliment: “Your photography is definitely the best exhibit here.”

Response: “Are you kidding? You must not have gone to very many art shows in your life.”

6. Narrowing

The receiver whittles down a broader compliment into a smaller one.

Compliment: “You’re looking really dashing tonight.”

Response: “This tie can make any suit look good.”

7. Boomerang

In response to a compliment, the receiver fires one back.

Compliment: “That is one sweet ‘stache!”

Response: “Well that’s a heck of a manly beard you’ve got there!”

8. Reassurance

The receiver has trouble accepting the compliment and seeks confirmation.

Compliment: “Your speech was incredibly convincing.”

Response: “Do you really think so? I felt like I was floundering out there.”

9. De-Value

The recipient suggests that the thing being complimented isn’t as great as the complimenter is suggesting.

Compliment: “That’s a really handsome sweater.”

Response: “It’s so old. I’ve had it since high school.”

10. Credit Transfer

The recipient transfers the praise to others.

Compliment: “I think that was the best dance we’ve ever had.”

Response: “It was really Jill who did all the work and made it happen.”

Why We Deflect Compliments

Paterson gives the following reasons for why people struggle to fully accept a compliment, to which I’ve again added a couple reasons I also think bear mentioning.

Fear of being seen as conceited. This is by far the most common reason people deflect a compliment. They worry that by agreeing with someone else’s praise of them, they are essentially praising themselves and thus being smug.

The need to restore “balance.” Since a compliment is a positive act, you may feel a psychological need to balance things out by either negating the praise through deflection, or by quickly returning the compliment.

The desire to avoid “indebtedness.” This is the worry that if someone does something nice for you like offering a compliment, you will then “owe” them something nice in return and will thus be indebted to them in some way.

Having low self-esteem. If someone says something nice about you that you don’t believe about yourself, your immediate reaction will be to deny or disbelieve it. You can’t integrate the complimenter’s positive view of you into your own negative one, so you look for ways to find their assessment faulty – i.e., they missed the mistakes you made or they don’t have good judgment.

Inability to be assertive. Guys who struggle with being assertive often find accepting compliments to be a struggle. They have a hard time taking ownership of their positive qualities and feel like acknowledging praise isn’t something a “nice guy” would do.

Suspicion of motives. You may reject someone’s compliments if you’re suspicious that they’re just trying to flatter you and butter you up for some reason. This suspicion may be legitimate or it may come from an overly cynical worldview and be rooted in trust issues.

Desire to look even better. People will sometimes use false modesty as a way of trying to make themselves look even better. For example, Bob compliments Jake on giving a top-notch presentation, and Jake, who actually spent a few dozen hours preparing it, says, “Oh, it was just something I threw together.” Now Bob is thinking, “Wow, if he just threw that together, imagine what he could do if he spent a lot of time on something!” Alternatively, someone may seek to add modesty to the other qualities they’re being complimented on. So Mike tells Andy, “I really appreciate how thorough you made this report.” To which Andy responds, “It was nothing. Just doing my job.” Andy may want Mike to think, “He’s not only a diligent employee, but so humble to boot!”

Why You Should Graciously and Fully Accept Compliments

Sociolinguists have found that Americans respond to compliments with a deflecting response a whopping two-thirds of the time. While this kind of response may be popular, it’s not very smart or even polite. This is an area where you should definitely try to break the mold of the mainstream. Here’s why.

Denial and deflection insults the giver. When someone offers you a compliment, they’re saying that they’ve observed and assessed a praiseworthy quality in you. When you deflect or deny that praise, you’re basically contradicting them; you’re saying that they don’t have good judgment, discernment, or taste, or that they’re insincere – that they don’t know what they’re talking about. You’re returning their kind words with an insult.

Denial and deflection make the giver feel uncomfortable. When we dismiss a compliment because it makes us uncomfortable, we simply transfer that discomfort to the giver. Not only do you insult them, but as Paterson puts it, rejecting a compliment often makes the giver feel “awkward, uncomfortable, stupid, or frustrated.” Where do they go from there? They’re now stuck with the tiresome task of offering reassurance of their sincerity…”No I really do think so…”

Be a man and eat the discomfort yourself instead of tossing it back like a hot potato.

Denial and deflection decrease the likelihood of someone complimenting you again. When you always wave off people’s compliments, eventually they won’t bother to offer them at all anymore.

Denial and deflection diminishes your value. A compliment shows that someone sees value in you. When you dismiss those compliments you’re telling them that either you do not have the qualities they thought you did, or that you’re so insecure you can’t even recognize and/or acknowledge that you do. Either way, it diminishes your value in their eyes. This makes you unattractive to the ladies who like a man to be confident. It also isn’t impressive to your employer. If you’re always telling your boss that so-and-so is really the one who deserves all the credit for the success on a project, why should they give you a raise or even keep you around?

You lose out on the good feeling that comes with a compliment. Getting a nice compliment can make you feel great. But when you deflect and devalue the compliment instead of absorbing it, you also deflect the positive boost it could have given your self-esteem.

Boomerang compliments aren’t usually sincere. You may think that always responding to a compliment with one of your own is polite, but it’s not. A boomerang compliment signals that instead of listening to and absorbing someone’s praise, you were busy formulating your own compliment. And because people know it’s a knee-jerk behavior that’s designed to mitigate your own discomfort, that it’s more about you than it is about them, it doesn’t register as sincere. It’s far better to offer your own compliment at another, appropriate time, so that it comes off as spontaneous and authentic, rather than coerced. There are exceptions to this rule, of course (see below).

How to Accept a Compliment

The first step in quitting the faux modesty of the compliment deflection routine is to realize that fully accepting compliments does not make you conceited. You didn’t come up with the praise yourself, someone else did! You’re just confirming another person’s assessment, and again, it’s more polite to accept and appreciate their judgment rather than to contradict it.

Second, it’s okay to let yourself feel proud of something you did well. A little pride need not involve an inflated sense of your accomplishments or worthy qualities – just an honest assessment of what you did. It’s quite possible to be modest, while still being grateful and gracious.

So what’s the best response to a compliment? Get ready for it…”Thank you.” That’s it. There’s never a situation where a simple, unadorned thank you won’t work.

That being said, sometimes it’s more comfortable and quite appropriate to offer a follow-up to your “thank you,” or an amplifier that shows just how much the compliment meant to you.

Appropriate follow-ups to “Thank you”:

  • “I really enjoyed it.” “I’m glad it worked out so well.” If you feel uncomfortable just leaving it at “thank you,” try a neutral follow-up statement.
  • “It couldn’t have happened without Jason’s help.” Now, giving a knee-jerk response in which you deny all credit to yourself and transfer it to others is faux modesty. But, when other people really do deserve some credit for the things you’re being praised for, it’s appropriate to mention those folks, after accepting credit for your own role.
  • “I am happy I could help.” This is a good alternative to the “Just doing my job” deflection. Maybe you were just doing your job, but don’t rebuff and deny someone’s desire to show their appreciation for you. Instead, offer a “thank you” and tell them you’re happy you could be of assistance.
  • “You know, you also played great tonight; nice job!” The boomerang compliment can be appropriate when it’s truly sincere — praise you would have given anyway — and especially when you won’t see the person again (this is often the case in competition situations). Just be sure to offer your compliment after you’ve fully accepted the one you’ve been given.

If a compliment is particularly heartwarming or special to you, there’s nothing wrong with following up your “thank you” with an amplifier that tells the giver what the compliment means to you, how it makes you feel, or why you value it:

  • “That really means a lot.”
  • “I really appreciate you noticing that. No one ever has before.”
  • “I was feeling really down and this is just the encouragement I need to keep going.”

Now go forward and offer many more compliments to others and acknowledge and accept the ones that come your way with class!


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How about this article? Together, the two articles have led me to believe this conclusion. For whatever reason a person has a problem accepting a heartfelt, warmly given without expectation compliment……Get over it and just accept the remarks as a good grade and get ready to take the next test until you meet your goal and then thank everyone that has helped you on your journey. LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by accepting the good, analyze the bad, construct from both, and keep moving!


(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved.  All third party material is referenced to the original location, if known, for credit reference.




S THIS THE LAST TIME? As another friend of mine and classmate has passed away, I wrote the message above and it paused my thoughts to WHEN WE COME TO THE LAST DAY and I remembered this post from several years ago. I thought it appropriate that I revisit the times in life we experience “last moments”. I hope you will give this some thought, not to be morbid, but as a reason for us to live life to the fullest. Please read and share the blog. #blog #life #death #goodlife #amwriting #friends


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As another friend of mine and classmate has passed away, I wrote the message above and it paused my thoughts to WHEN WE COME TO THE LAST DAY and I remembered this post from several years ago. I thought it appropriate that I revisit the times in life we experience “last moments”. I hope you will give this some thought, not to be morbid, but as a reason for us to live life to the fullest.

WHEN WE COME TO THE LAST DAY is the topic for the blog and with the end of the year approaching at a fast pace, I thought it might be a good day to look at “The last day”. It may give you a little food for thought.

How many “Last Days” do we have?

last day

Last day of school:

On the last day, a variety of emotions may originate in the form of sadness, gladness, confusion, sentimentalism and either of these can be disguised in the form of over jealousness. A good way to look at the last day of school is like going to the dock and waiting for the cruise ship to arrive for your next adventure.

last day 6

Last day of work:

Sometimes, the last day of work can be trying with everyone celebrating your departure and a little confusion can rise. Are your co-workers enjoying your victory of leaving or are they happy you are leaving? Retirement is a milestone in life to recognize your dedication, commitment, and successful completion of your career, so look at retirement as the same as a rescued pet leaving the shelter, happy to go but wish you could take all of your buddies with you. Stay active; you are retiring and not dying.

last day1

Last day before marriage:

Thoughts and more thoughts; questions am I doing the right thing and is this the right person to spend my entire life? This is a powerfully strong emotional day but step back and remember a week, month, or even years ago and how much you wanted to share every minute with this very person and relax. You will now have millions of those minutes to share.

last day3

Last day before giving up a habit:

Research shows that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. That’s 21 days of going to the gym every day or exercising in some way every day, 21 days to meditation, 21 days to eat healthily, 21 days doing, 21 days of anything.

When you want to start a habit, don’t tell yourself you are doing it for life, tell yourself (your conscious brain) that you are going to try it for 21 days. For example if you want to start the habit of meditating tell your conscious self that you are trying it for 21 days. Now, when you have completed this for 21 days your conscious mind has the choice of stopping it or carrying on, or so it thinks. Your neural pathways have formed already and you will more than likely continue with your new habit, you will have seen the benefits along the way your unconscious will want to continue if it has been beneficial.

This can also work when trying to break a habit, however research has shown that the neural pathways to any habit could be lifelong and a cue or a trigger can cause us to start back up an old habit, like smoking.

(Excerpt from an article  Health
A new habit
by Steven Aitchison)

last day 7

Last day before having a child:

This is the last day of your former life as life is never the same as before you are engaged in a lifetime of loving, caring, educating, supporting, and inspiring a baby from the birth, through the “first of everything”, teenage challenges, young adult strides and growth, and the ups and downs of letting go and allowing them to experience life as an adult. No day will ever be the same as the last day before having a mini-me entering and taking center stage. No day will ever be filled with love as the days which will follow this day.


Last day before commitment to a relationship, faith, community project:

This should be a day of release of prior thoughts, relationships, hesitancy felt in consideration of making this commitment. A commitment is a mental reward of sorting through all of your choices and selecting what suits you the best. The questions and concerns should fly out of the window as commitment is a necessity for success. Grasp the opportunity and let go of past reservations. 

last day 4

Last day of life:

I will leave this one as the thought provoking text. What does this day mean to you and to me? Does it mean defeat or victory? Does it mean that you have lived life to the fullest and have seen your dreams to rendition? Does it mean you leave this world feeling fulfilled or empty? Does it mean you have the faith to believe there is more after this life? This is the only last that I cannot help each one of you through. It is a personal thought by design. I am led to the scripture “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to work, for his good pleasure.”—Php 2:12-13.

twinkling Life can change in the twinkling of an eye so make the most of it.

I leave this message with you and hope that you will not only think of the “Last” but think of the “First” as I say LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by experiencing all of this beautiful life before it becomes a LAST.

(C) COPYRIGHT 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material/photos are sourced to original location if known. Photos are not exclusively the property of Sipping Cups unless notated.



Does it seem that every subject and every discussion has become a debate or even an argument with criticism for each other’s opinion? Today on the blog, criticism is at the top of my list of concerns for all of us. Maybe it is not as critical as it seems to criticize others but if it is necessary, let’s look at constructive criticism instead of full on destructive rhetoric. Please join me on the blog and may we construct some positivity. #blog #amwriting #constructivefeedback #criticism #life #love


Sometimes, I go back and look at some posts that I have written and repost them with some enhancements and/or editing changes. While going through the posts, I found this one that apparently I wrote in 2016 after the July 4th holiday. With the current hype of everyone having opinions which are highly critical of others, I thought I would give this one another look see. I hope we can learn from each other and hopefully in a positive way.

WHAT’S UP WITH ALL OF THE CRITICISM? With all of the fireworks a part of history today from all of the celebration from the 4th of July, it would appear that I would choose a soft, melodic message; but NOT! I would like to express a thought I saw over the holidays that proves to be a worthy topic so let me start off with a big BOOM! I am going to criticize all of the CRITICIZERS in the world. How ironic, right? I think you will get my message once you see how the thrust of the topic blazes the blog air.
CRITICISM ˈkridəˌsizəm’ in Google dictionary means:
the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
“he received a lot of criticism”
synonyms: censure, condemnation, denunciation, disapproval, disparagement, opprobrium, fault-finding, attack, broadside, stricture, recrimination; More
the analysis and judgment of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work.
“alternative methods of criticism supported by well-developed literary theories”
synonyms: evaluation, assessment, appraisal, analysis, judgment
I would like everyone to pay attention to certain words in the meaning such as: condemnation; denunciation; disapproval; fault-finding; etc. Looking at the meaning do you find anything positive in these words? Do you feel that keeping the meaning in mind any encouragement is found in CRITICISM? 
May I give my thoughts on this subject? I witness too many times the people who are so busy criticizing others could use that valuable time in sharing positive and encouraging thoughts to that very person. I am going to share a personal thought which I may have shared before but it has value to the worth of positive assertion applied in any situation but this pertains to parenting.
When my daughter would go somewhere or engage in something contrary to our approval and it would be time to have one of those talks, I would say to my daughter “I understand. All of us do things if we had taken the time to think if it is a good idea, we would have made a different decision. You are such a smart intelligent girl you will make the right decision next time.”
She  told me if I knew how much nonsense I had kept her from getting into by her hearing my words, “Next time you will stop and think and you will make the right decision.” 
There is a funny part of how this affected her future. She said, as a psychology major, sitting in one of her classes, the language coming out of her professor’s mouth on positive assertion was so similar to what she had been taught from me, “Mom, if I had shut my eyes and listened, it could have been you talking to me.”
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If I can pass any advice on to others. Please stop criticizing and start encouraging! Positive assertion has encouraged me and I am sure each of you can remember when someone said nice words about something you did great and the effect it had on your day.
En·cour·age·ment inˈkərijmənt,enˈkərijmənt/
the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
“thank you for all your support and encouragement”
synonyms: heartening, cheering up, inspiration, motivation, stimulation, fortification; More
persuasion to do or to continue something.
“incentives and encouragement to play sports”
the act of trying to stimulate the development of an activity, state, or belief.
“the encouragement of foreign investment”
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1. Time it right.

Never criticize in the moment. Nobody wants to step down from the podium and bump into a friend who says he or she spoke too quickly, his or her points were inconclusive, and the speech went on for too long. In the moment, say something nice, and then pick a better time to give advice.

2. Check yourself.

Do you really mean what you are saying, or are you using the disguise of “constructive criticism” to mask personal baggage or issues you are having with that person?

Related: How to Give Constructive Feedback to a Toxic Boss

3. Use a “straw man.”

If someone feels personally threatened by what you are saying, his or her defenses will go up and he or she won’t be able to internalize your criticism. Try to give the critique through a personal anecdote or an inspiring story of someone famous who went through the same thing. It’s so much easier to swallow when it’s not straight out about “you” and “your” mistakes.

4. Focus on actions, not the person.

The person is not lazy,­­ his or her paper was just sloppy. The person is not incompetent­,­ the editing process was just incomplete. Make sure not to focus on the person him or herself, rather on what he or she did.

5. Don’t share feedback until you need to.

If someone is about to finish a big project or speech, this is not the time to start telling him or her everything that could have been done better. Rather, wait until he or she is about to do it again. Then you can jump in with your critique, keeping in mind the previous four steps, of course.

Remember, criticism, used wrongly, can offend and threaten those around us. But used wisely, constructive criticism can be a catapult for growth and improvement.

Related: 5 Ways You Can Stop Stunting Your Company’s Growth

Doesn’t the idea of supporting, cheering up, inspiring, motivating, stimulating and fortifying a person’s character sound a lot better than criticizing someone? Let’s criticize our weakness for criticizing someone who can make a difference if motivated to do something spectacular.
Bible Verse:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness,” Hebrews 3:13 

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. 3rd Party reference material sourced to original location if known..