Skip to content
The SheCAN! Network - the art of Accepting Gratitude

The Art of Receiving Gratitude

Learn how to gracefully show gratitude.

By Peggy Sullivan

It's come to my attention that "gratitude" seems to be the buzzword of the year. But everywhere I look, whether it be articles, blogs, books, or webinars, the advice has been about expressing gratitude, not how to receive recognition. Most people like hearing praise, but some people prickle when they receive compliments. Others downright hate them! After careful thought, I have realized that people respond to compliments in one of three ways: discount, deflect, or reciprocate.



To discount a compliment is when we give all the reasons why kind words can't be received, and sometimes the reasons can be quite detailed. Discounting is a popular and unhealthy habit. It's as if the person receiving the compliment needs to come clean and mention all their problems. Why can't we be open to receive without emphasizing the issues with the praise?



When given compliments, many of us tend to repel them, brushing them away. We are communicating that there was no ground for the other person's gratitude in the first place. Many of us are afraid to have the spotlight shine on ourselves solely for that reason.



Another common way of responding to gratitude is reciprocation. Before the compliment even has time to land, the other person immediately launches into his or her expression of gratitude. This type of response feels very transactional. We think that if someone "pays" us a compliment, we have to "pay" them back right away. No one likes to be in dept, so we try to repay as quickly as possible.

Are you guilty of any of the above? Here are three easy steps someone can follow to help create and practice healthy habits in receiving gratitude:

  • Accept, rather than deflect, by saying a genuine "thank you", while looking directly into the other person's eyes.
  • Amplify and savor the praise. Take it in and let it permeate.
  • Advance and engage by asking questions and using the opportunity to connect.

How do you typically respond to gratitude? Do you receive praise well and accept, amplify, or advance? Or do you tend to deflect, reciprocate, or discount? Engage in the tango of gratitude - it can be fun once you learn to accept it and simply say, "thank you!".

The SheCAN! Network -Peggy Sullivan headshot


Peggy Sullivan is the CEO & Founder of SheCAN!. It is her desire to help women step into their power and become the best versions of themselves through professional and personal development, networking opportunities and one-on-one coaching.

Other Posts You Might Like

Scroll To Top