Is this normal? I can't take any compliments

Postby faketik » Tue May 29, 2018 5:54 am

I'm not sure if this is normal. I can't take any compliments at all.

The thing is that I've been like this all my life. My parents have told me that when I was little I would cry or get really angry if somebody praised me or applauded me. It's not that I think I do things poorly, or that my work or skill in any task is not enough. I actually recognise I'm good at some things, but the fact of somebody recognising me for it or complimenting me makes me feel deeply uncomfortable.

I usually can deal with daily compliments about how I look or something I'm wearing (though my reaction is not really authentic), but other things just put me off.

I've noticed the only person I'm a bit more open to is my brother. I like playing piano, for example, and he's the only person I'm comfortable hearing me play. I can't do it in front of my parents or friends.
Once I won 2nd place in a Literature contest and my teacher congratulated me in front of all the class, everyone applauded me and I just wanted to disappear.

I don't know if it's something about low self-steem or what. The fact that I've been like this since always just confuses me.

Hopefully somebody has any theories on this! Thanks!
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Tue May 29, 2018 12:34 pm

Your feelings are common.

Privately most of us feel we are above average. There is optimism bias, self-serving bias, and the Dunning-Kruger effect. Generally speaking, most of us hold the private opinion that our skills and abilities are slightly above average.

But we also fear criticism, rejection and uncertainty. For this reason, most people are deathly afraid of public speaking.

These two things don't match up. Privately were are confident, but we don't want the spotlight on us. The spotlight might expose us to potential criticism, potential rejection, etc. We don't want a compliment, because we don't want this big light shining directly on us, placing us in a position where 100 sets of eyes are now on us, analyzing us, critiquing us.

So yes, it is an issue of self-esteem/self-confidence. And yes it is normal.
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#2

Postby silence81 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:12 pm

"...but the fact of somebody recognising me for it or complimenting me makes me feel deeply uncomfortable."

When you feel uncomfortable in these situations, what is/are the emotion(s) / feeling(s) that come up for you?

It sounds like someone "recognising" you or "complimenting" you is about you being seen or exposed, and maybe you feel vulnerable about being "seen". What do you think?
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#3

Postby faketik » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:46 pm

In those situations I don't like it being me the centre of attention I guess. I don't know if is the fact "of being seen". I actually like giving presentations in front of people, participating in debates or that kind of thing, I just don't want anyone for complimenting me for it afterwards. It's something like... If I was an artist with a gallery I would like it to be anonymous. It's weird because I'm not a shy person, probably a bit more introvert but not to a shyness extent.
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#4

Postby silence81 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:28 am

faketik wrote:In those situations I don't like it being me the centre of attention I guess. I don't know if is the fact "of being seen". I actually like giving presentations in front of people, participating in debates or that kind of thing, I just don't want anyone for complimenting me for it afterwards. It's something like... If I was an artist with a gallery I would like it to be anonymous. It's weird because I'm not a shy person, probably a bit more introvert but not to a shyness extent.


Ok. So when you give presentations or participate in things, that's you in a more empowered position, in which maybe you feel more in control of what you're doing. You're being more pro-active, right? But receiving things from others--like compliments--involves you maybe being in a more passive, less-in-control, less-empowered position. What do you think?

Your analogy of being an anonymous artist is similar: you are in a giving/offering position or role by producing and hosting your artwork, but being in a receiving position or role is not something that you like.

So what is it about receiving things from others that you don't like or feel uncomfortable about? Can you receive other things apart from compliments? E.g. gifts?

When you offer compliments (if you do), what does it mean to you to offer someone a compliment? And do you feel in a more empowered/in-control role when offering/giving compliments?
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