accepting compliments

Written by  rabbi benjamin ehrenfeld

art-complimentAccepting compliments can be very hard for some people. For some, the non-acceptance is considered related to the humility they hope to demonstrate.

The truth is my rejecting a compliment rarely gives the compliment giver a sense of my “great” humility. In some ways, rejecting a compliment can give a low-grade feeling of rejecting the giver. It is different if you are complimented for something you didn’t actually do; in such a case it is clearly best to name the person who should be complimented instead. Most of the time, however, you probably deserve the compliment you’ve been given.

One of the humblest people I know is a woman who is incredibly gifted and talented who, every time I compliment her, she accepts it and gives a compliment to me. It is actually very special when we have these exchanges. It is beautiful when each compliment we receive is an opportunity to bless others. You don’t want to make something up, and to take this on would require being in touch with the gifting of others. Being in touch with the gifting of others is a great way to build one’s own humility as well as strengthen the middah of honor. Humility and honor go hand in hand, and accepting honor in appropriate ways (as well as giving it appropriately) is representative of one’s humility. May we all have the opportunity to compliment one another and proceed with humility!

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