4 Easy Ways to Break The Compliment Trap

Written by Sally

Self-deprecation is rife in my experience with female clients at STEELEMystyle and with women I encounter and meet everyday.

In my work I help and educate clients to retrain their brains and zone out the loaded messages from media and society in general about how they should feel about themselves.

This is where my heart and passion is,  helping clients  accept themselves, become more confident about who they are , express their personality and accept compliments which inevitably come thick and fast after we work together ;)

This Amy Schumer video from a few years ago is a perfect illustration of this kind of behaviour that women fall into every single day. And yes I do know this is the second post with Amy Schumer in it .. what can I say .. I love her kick arse feminist attitude… so needed.



My mother always taught me how to accept a compliment with grace and I now pass it onto my daughters that if someone says something nice about the food you’ve made, your achievements, even your new shoes,  do not deflect with self deprecation.

That is actually quite insulting.

Do you do this ?

If so ask yourself why you cannot take a compliment – some reasons

* fear of being seen as narcissistic or egotistical

* wanting to be seen as humble and be liked

* lack of self esteem and self worth

* insecurity

* fear of being judged

* a protective strategy due to negative experiences in teens.


What are the greater ramifications of this type of behaviour ? 

Everytime you put yourself down it not only becomes part of your internal monologue, which can lead to depression and negative self-esteem, but you are also running yourself down in the eyes of others too.. imagine the model you are setting your children, especially daughters. Make a concerted effort to kick the negative inner voice to the kerb.


Know this

You can change this behaviour – it just takes practice – create a new habit and a new pathway in your brain. It will have an impact on how you feel about yourself and your confidence.


1. Learn how to take a compliment 

For starters smile and say a simple “Thank You”.


2. Try and be more aware of when you are using your “I’m worthless”  mask and choose to stop this behaviour.


3. Make your inner voice your cheerleader 

Whenever I hear my little daughters say anything negative or self-deprecating I say to them

“Would you say that to one of your friends at kindy ? ”


” What would you think if I said that to you”

” I would think you were being really mean and it would make me sad”

” So darling don’t say it to yourself – then. Your inner voice needs to be a cheerleading voice that encourages you and supports you just as all the people who love you do. You need to be your own best friend  to really be happy and successful.


4.  Avoid meaningless compliments 

Don’t use compliments to create small talk or if you feel awkward. Make them count. Be genuine and authentic when you give a compliment. This will help other women to break the habit.


Amy Schumer  “: I think one of the things women are taught is that it makes you more attractive when you hate yourself. To be accused of having any sort of an ego is really frowned upon. There’s a fear of somebody being jealous of you or envious of you, because then they won’t like you, and you want to be liked. So we think it’s attractive to be humble. Although sometimes it’s not about false modesty: If I walk outside feeling bloated and gross and someone says, “You look great!” I’ll be like, “Fuck you, I’m a monster!” [Laughs.]”

That pressure to exert humility is where the need to shake off the compliment comes from. It’s like, “If I take this compliment without qualifying it, then somehow I’m being narcissistic or egomaniacal,” which is absurd. I think that pressure to be humble also feeds the idea that women are obligated to give compliments all the time, which the sketch also addresses. Not to say that when women praise each other it’s insincere—that would be extremely unfair to say, but in certain instances, there’s some level of pressure to start off the conversation with a compliment. I have some friends where you can’t start a conversation with them until they’ve complimented not only everything about how you look that day, but anything they’ve heard about you. It’s almost like a form of catching up for them. But it’s kind of exhausting, and it takes away the authenticity of what they’re saying. I think every woman assumes we’re all so plagued with self-hatred and self-doubt that we’re like, “As soon as I see her, let me set her mind at ease that she’s not an unfuckable ghost.”


All I can say is ” Amen”



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