MGU 65 | Compliments


Conscious language entails replying to compliment comments in the most sensible manner. With the ever-changing standards of beauty that comes with the influence of social media like Instagram, having a sense of true appreciation can be a challenge. Today, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen discuss an interesting but timely topic – receiving compliments or accepting praise. By sharing resources such as the Art of Manliness podcast, they share some ways people respond towards compliments like accepting, deflecting, and rejecting. They also talk about validation, the attention economy, and so much more.

Listen to the podcast here


Why People Find It Hard To Receive A Compliment

How To Accept Praise

You know one thing that I find uncomfortable?

What’s that?

When you take note because you want to remember something, then you go back and read the note and you have no idea what it means. 

Does this mean that you can’t read your own handwriting?

No. You think of a brilliant idea at the moment and you don’t want to forget it so you write it down and then you have an intention for utilizing it for something. I have to pause for a little funny inside joke. As I was saying those words, I just remembered part of my dream. In my dream, I was hanging out with Brendon Burchard

What were you doing with Brendon? Where were you, guys? What was going on?

I remember I was in his apartment or something and it’s all coming together. The reason that I thought about him is that I’ve taken many notes from Brendon’s events and it reminds me of a lot of the times, we don’t even look through our notes. A lot of things are coming to mind. I didn’t mean to go off on these tangents. I have another point to make, but I saw our guest, Chris Guillebeau, had a great post. I’m going to attribute it to him, but now I’m not 100% sure if he was the one that said this, but I’m sure it was a post from Chris who said that “If we wanted a good idea, we should go back and look through our old notes and we would find all sorts of great ideas for ourselves.” I started thinking about Brendon too because I’ve been to a number of Brendon’s events. 

I’ve taken his courses online. I’ve read his books and I often will take all these notes because Brendon, for both me and Jason, has been a great mentor. There are many times that I intend on doing something, so I write it down, and then it gets lost in the sea of notes that I have, whether they’re journal-entry notes, digital notes, or to-do lists. There’s so much information that we put down thinking that we’re going to utilize it sometime in the future and then if we don’t intentionally commit to doing it or look back on our notes, we often lose that. This post I saw, which again I think was from Chris Guillebeau, was such a great point that whenever we feel we’re at a loss of inspiration or motivation, we could go back to our old journals, to-do list, and various notes wherever they may be. We may remember something that we forgot about.

This is a fascinating Pandora’s box. I say Pandora’s box because I think about the stacks and stacks of journals that I have. Here at my house in LA, I have journals that go all the way back to 2002 and I shudder a little bit to think of the volume of notes. When you bring that up, Whitney, it intrigues me because I’m flooding with creative ideas and business ideas that I had, not forgotten about, but I hadn’t thought of in a long time. You bringing this up, this tangential topic. There was a vegan ice cream line I was going to launch in 2009 before Kind Kreme and a lot of the vegan ice cream parlors and brands that are out there, I had a whole business plan for an ice cream line. I had a whole business idea for a line of brownies, but I was going to have the word, wow, in there and call them Brownies, which sounds like a kid saying, “Brownies.” It’s interesting to think about spelunking the depths of these old journals and God knows what’s waiting in there especially if I go back to 2002. “What’s in there?” I feel like I should run during this episode at some point, go grab one, turn to a random page and see what’s in there. That would be fun. I could do that and see.

Most people seek what seems like a safe middle ground, choosing a deflecting response that dilutes and mitigates the compliment. Click To Tweet

That wasn’t the point I was going to make because I’m feeling frustrated. I wrote down an idea for this episode, and I wish that I could remember and write down more of my thoughts because sometimes you have what you feel is a brilliant idea, but if you’re not detailed about it, then when you come back to it later you don’t understand the full meaning of it. The note that I had written down for this episode was Conscious Language – How to Reply to Compliment Comments on Instagram. I’m saying, you’re racking my brain. I was able to go back and track when I put that note and I don’t know exactly what the motivation was. Did somebody else bring this up? Was this a conversation? Trying to reflect on what that might mean and why I thought that would be an important topic for this episode. I think it’s because I have often felt uncomfortable receiving complimentary comments.

Here’s a great example. If I post a photo of myself and then somebody compliments my appearance, to me that’s uncomfortable because it’s nice. Most people like to be complimented for how they look, which is also odd. If you step back and think about it like this desire for people to tell us that we’re pretty, attractive, handsome, sexy, whatever you want to say. That drives a lot of people and we have this desire to post ourselves in the best light possible. We want to look nice. We want to show ourselves in the way that other people will enjoy. It’s also very uncomfortable to me and more and more so when I receive any compliments on my appearance because I don’t know what to do with that. It feels very superficial. It’s also awkward to say, “Thanks.” It’s like someone writes, “You’re so pretty.” It’s like, “What else do you say? Thanks?” If you say thanks, that’s awkward. If you could put an emoji that’s also awkward, it’s tricky. I can’t be the only one that experiences this, but I’m curious about your perspective on this, Jason. How do you feel and react? How has that flown over time when you post certain photos of yourself and people compliment you on your appearance, what you’re wearing, or something that’s generally more superficial?

It’s evolved a lot over time in the sense that I have not during the lockdown, but when the world is running and there are events and things. I have some wild fun hats, shirts, jackets, and wardrobe choices that are flamboyant, fun, bright, and colorful. I love dressing that way because it reflects what’s going on inside of me, which is playful, fun, colorful, and a little bit wild. You and I have been to different events. We’ve referenced a few on the show conferences, launch parties, and things that we do in the health and wellness field. When I go out wearing these very specific, I have three pairs of bright shoes. They’re these specific Puma sneakers that not a lot of people wear because they didn’t take off. They weren’t that popular, but I have these bright orange ones, these Miami vice blue ones and then I got a pair of shiny, crazy, chromatic gold ones and I love it. I think they’re great. I love flashiness.

I love bright sparkly clothing. When people compliment me when we’re out or when I’m out, it’s interesting because I’m thinking about how those compliments land and how I receive those compliments. When I was younger, I was a lot more concerned about what people thought of me. Make no mistake, I still have mindfulness around how people perceive me. I’m not completely detached from how I think other people receive me, but it’s a lot less acute than it was in my 20s, 30s, and certainly my teens whereas now, I’m doing it because it brings me joy and not because of how other people perceive it. It makes me feel fun, buoyant, and more energized to wear bright orange sneakers, do my hair a certain way, wear one of my favorite hats, or whatever it is.

I’ve had people comment like, “You’re dressing more hip hop these days. You look Jamiroquai or Pharrell.” I’ve had people say all these different things and I’m like, “I’m not trying to be Jamiroquai. I’m not trying to be Jay Kay. I’m not trying to be Pharrell. I’m not trying to be anybody.” I find things, whatever it is, clothing, hairstyle, jewelry and it resonates with me. I don’t know why it resonates with me but that wants to be on my body. I don’t know that I necessarily feel pumped up by compliments as I used to. I’m like, “Thank you. I appreciate it.” I keep going and I don’t feel like, “They complimented me. I feel good about myself now.” I feel good because I’m living in alignment with my personal style and how I want to express myself. That matters more than the compliments I’m going to receive.

MGU 65 | Compliments

Compliments: We have this desire to post ourselves in the best light possible.


One that I had pulled up about this is that stated that women are complimented on their appearance and men are usually complimented on what they possess. Everything that you referenced seemed to be about what you were wearing versus your actual body. Is that right?

Yes. That’s accurate across the board to a degree because I don’t necessarily get a slew of Instagram comments of like, “You’re so hot. You look a young Jeff Goldblum.”

Do you occasionally get the zaddy comment?

That’s probably because I’m older and gray is coming into my beard. For some reason, younger women with daddy issues seem to be drawn to me. That’s the advantage of having gray hair and being older.

What’s up with the word, zaddy, though? Is it a combination of two words, is the Z from something else or is it the way that you would say daddy? You’re a girl that’s slurring her words because she’s so attracted to a daddy figure?

I’ve never gone so far as to ask one of these young ladies why they’re using the terminology, zaddy, instead of daddy. It’s all conjecture. I do not know the actual answer to that question.

I pulled up an urban dictionary. I know what it means but I’m curious. 

I love the word figuring this out in real-time.

Does this tell you where it originated from? I’m not sure, but here’s how the Urban Dictionary defines zaddy, “A fine, handsome and sexy intelligent man that makes you smile and drip every time you see him.” That’s a great compliment. “He knows how to handle business in and out of the bedroom. You low key want to have his baby. He makes all parts of you excited, including your mind. He smells good, looks good, and is good.” You love this. You feel like you’re hot thing knowing that that’s the definition. That is a huge compliment. 

That’s a loaded definition. That’s way more loaded than I could have possibly expected.

The first thing that came up with that zaddy originated from a 2016 Ty Dolla $ign song by the same name, “While a daddy is an attractive older man, a zaddy is a man with swag who is attractive and also fashionable.”

If the shoe fits literally.

Here’s another one. It says that it originated in 2008. 

Somebody who’s surfing Ty Dolla $ign’s origin story.

The term has been applied specifically to the singer, Zayn Malik, so maybe that’s the answer right there. 

He does have good facial hair. I’ll give him that.

There are the definition and origin of the word zaddy in case you were ever curious. You can feel hip and with it.

This is potentially the most tangential of any episode so far. I’m loving it.

I highly doubt it because we transitioned from not knowing why you wrote down the note into what my note was and now we are exploring my note and in-depth. I feel like we’re on track.

Even if we’re not, who cares? Tracks Mack look about crack, who cares?

People don't want to see you too much in your ego. It triggers them in a lot of ways. Click To Tweet

I was a bit on a mission to figure out how do you best receive a compliment? During some of my research, I also found that culturally we often expect people not to receive a compliment in a positive light. Meaning if we receive a compliment with agreement and self-praise, we might be viewed more negatively than if we were to disagree with it and say things like, “Shocks or nah.” Both scenarios are uncomfortable. It makes me a little bit uncomfortable when somebody receives a compliment and they start to take themselves down like, “No.” Someone will say you’re pretty and you’re like, “No, I’m so ugly.” That makes me uncomfortable too. First of all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Who are you to even say whether you’re pretty or ugly? It’s all a matter of perception. If you feel that way about yourself, fine. It’s not fine because if you don’t think that you’re attractive, it’s a deeper self-loathing. To push away someone’s complement is also feeding into some weird cultural behavior. It’s hard to know what to do. For me, I don’t usually respond at all because I don’t know what to say and I don’t want to come across as to an agreement or in my ego by being like, I am whatever you said about me. I also don’t want to say thanks because that feels it doesn’t have much meaning. The more I think about this, the more awkward the whole situation feels. I’m hoping that we could explore this more in-depth to have some more answers to give.

The initial thing that comes up for me is, why is there a societally predicated standard of self-deprecation? You described it a little bit when you were feeling like, “Stop it now.” They completely don’t even accept it at all, which is weird that that’s something that is encouraged and accepted on a societal level. To your point, there is a gracious and honest way to accept a compliment. I’ve noticed that when people compliment me specifically in terms of my music, my food, or my art. This is a very touchy one for me because of my perception of how I sound as a singer or a musician, I’m very self-critical. It’s something that I’ve still worked a lot on. My food is a little bit less so because I’ve achieved more commercial success, if you will, in the food aspect of my creativity.

With music, I’ve struggled for so long in different bands and doing my solo stuff that even some of the holiday events or the memorials, the stuff that I sang out in late 2019, I found myself having to work to believe people when they were complimenting me, I’m like, “Do you do this professionally?” I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me?” That was my initial instinct. It’s like, “They’re being earnest right now. They’re being honest and appreciating your voice and your music.” There’s still a part of me that’s so critical and comparing myself to my heroes. The musicians that I’ve changed my life with their art that I get so stuck in self-deprecating comparison trap musically that I still struggle to accept compliments from people in that area of my life. In other areas of my life, I don’t struggle with it. For some reason, when people give me positive feedback on my music, I still grit my teeth a little bit and be like, “Do they mean it? Are they blowing smoke up my ass? Is this true?” I still have a hard time with that. I’m still working on that part.

This goes to show how uncomfortable it is and a lot of people struggle with it. I pulled up a few articles and one I found interesting was on Buzzfeed and it’s called, This is What Happens When a Woman Accepts a Compliment from a Man Online. It was a social experiment. It was this girl that was getting a lot of compliments on social media and she found that if she didn’t reply, people would criticize her for not replying. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don’t type of thing. Some people, men especially were criticizing her because they felt that they were owed a response and that she should be grateful for the compliment. She decided to run an experiment. Whenever she received a compliment from a man, she would reply with a warmer, nicer answer, agreeing with, and accepting the compliment. 

She started to screenshot all of these. If a guy said to her, “You are gorgeous.” She wrote back, “Yes.” The response from the guy could be something like, “No, you aren’t. Lol.” Suddenly they wanted to take back their compliment if the woman agreed. Another one, “You are amazing.” The girl responded, “Yes.” The guy said, “You are not that good, love.” What is the psychology of this? This is fascinating because if you are in agreement with it, people get turned off and then want to switch it around because they’re seeing you in your ego. If you don’t respond at all, they also get upset. Another one, “By the way, your eyes are gorgeous.” The response was, “I know. Thank you. So are yours.” The response was, “What do you mean I know? You’re not that amazing.” 

Is this from an experiment, actual real comments?

Yes. Some of these are private messages and then others are like, “Being vain won’t get you anywhere, it just makes you a bitch.” That’s the only line after a compliment on somebody’s appearance, simply saying “Thank you. I know” is that response.

That is hardcore and this is absolutely fascinating because it backs in my mind, Whitney, the question of what would appropriate or desired response be for these men giving the compliments in the first place? It’s like, “Thank you, baby. That makes me feel so amazing. I hope you’re having a great day.” Dripping with syrupy saccharin inauthentic bullshit. Is that what they want? Probably. That’s why strip clubs are so popular with all due respect. On a tangent, it’s not the authenticity of the interaction, it’s the illusion of it. Let’s be honest ladies too because I also know women that love to go to strip clubs. If you think that the dancer wants to fuck you, if you believe that, then they’ve done their job and mission successful because you’re going to give them a ton of money. It’s the illusion of being wanted and appreciated whereas this is almost a parallel thing of like, do you want her to answer you honestly or do you want it to be overly floofy and saccharin? “This means so much to me. Thank you so much. I hope you’re amazing.” What are they expecting? This fascinates me.

That’s what I’m saying. The more you dig into it and you think of all these different scenarios, none of them feel quite right. That’s why I don’t say anything at all or I’ll hit the like button but even that feels uncomfortable because that’s also acknowledging it. People can get mad if you don’t acknowledge them. It’s a “damn if you do, damn if you don’t,” but we’ll continue to explore this a little bit more. I found another article from the I have not listened to it. This is How to Accept a Compliment with Class and Ten Ways Compliments are Dismissed. There are three main categories that you can respond to compliments with either to accept it, deflect it or reject it, which is what we’re talking about here. Most people are uncomfortable at either extreme outright denial seems rude, but full acceptance feels conceited.

Thus, most people seek what it 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, the author lists some of the different ways we reject and deflect compliments. This is an observation. Number one is to ignore. The recipient’s compliment either because he didn’t hear it or because he didn’t recognize that he’s being complimented. For example, the compliment is, “You played crazy good today. You were all over the court.” The response was, “I’m thirsty. Let’s stop for some Gatorade.” The point is you’re completely ignorant that someone’s even complimenting you. If I heard somebody say that, I would think they’re trying to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen.

Can we dissect very quickly the second half of that statement? “Let’s stop for some Gatorade,” as if there’s a bar that specializes an electrolyte replacement drinks. “Can we stop for vitamin water? I’d like it on the rocks please with a chaser, a little lime in there. Thanks.”

You go to a gas station. 

Who says that? That’s what I mean. They go like, “Do you want to stop at 7-Eleven?” I’m like, “Could we stop for a Gatorade?” It sounds like I’m going to take you out to the bar and buy you a Gatorade. No one speaks like that.

Here’s another example. The recipient denies the compliment outright such as, “You sounded so good.” “We sounded like total crap.” That’s a very good common one. 

It’s total denial.

The recipient of the compliment argues against deserving the given praise. For example, “That was profound insight you brought up in class.” “Not really. Anyone who had read the previous cases would have come to the same conclusion.” 

It is also a slam of the person giving the compliment on top of it. The way you read it almost sounds that they’re completely subverting the compliment and rejecting it but in a way, depending on how that’s delivered, “Anyone could have discerned that from reading it, you shithead.” There’s a little bit of condescending mustard on top of that hot dog. If you would read it too, you would have come to the same conclusion.

The next is the receiver downplays the praise by offering self-deprecating remarks, for example. “That’s a spiffy hat.” “I need something to draw attention from my ugly mug.” I love these examples.

Can we appreciate the use of the adjective from the 1910’s spiffy?

I knew you’re going to love that. 

That is phenomenal. I would like to put that in my lexicon to bring that back.

The receiver questions the giver’s judgment tastes in offering the compliment. For example, “Your photography is definitely the best exhibit here.” “Are you kidding? You must not have gone to very many art shows in your life.” I love how much of these are giving you joy, Jason. 

They’re so extreme, “First time at a gallery? Let’s call the art gallery. There’s free popcorn in the back.”

The receiver whittles down a broader compliment into a smaller one. For example, “You look dashing tonight.” “The tie can make any suit look good.”

These are such funny examples to me. I don’t know why these are fun and interesting and I’m imagining these in an actual human conversation and they’re a little bit stilted. They’re a little like, “This tie could make anyone look good.”

“In response to a compliment, the receiver fires one back.” This is like a comment.

This is what I do. I’m totally a tennis match compliment giver.

MGU 65 | Compliments

Compliments: A receiver downplays the praise by offering self-deprecating remarks.


Here’s the example. “That is one sweet stache.” “That’s a heck of a manly beard you’ve got there.”

I do this shit all the time. Someone will compliment me on hat, clothes, a dope jacket and I’ll be like, “That’s a killer handkerchief. I love the contrasting floral pattern on your handkerchief. For real.” It’s delicate, sensitive but also goes hard in the paint. I’ll do that.

I do the same thing too if someone will be like, “You look so pretty.” My first reaction would be like, “So do you.” I’m like, “Why did I say that?” It seems so superficial.

Which is funny because men are like, “You look so handsome.” “So do you.” I never had that exchange with a man in my life.

The difference between men and women. 

I’ve used the word dapper and had that blasted back in me like, “You’re looking extra dapper right now.” They’d be like, “You’re looking fly too.” It never had a compliment tennis match over the word handsome. I’m open to it.

There’s a couple more here. Reassurance, “The receiver has trouble accepting the compliment and seeks confirmation.” For example, “Your speech was incredibly convincing.” “Do you think so? I felt like I was floundering out there.” I’ve heard that before. 

This also brings up something interesting. When I was first studying acting in my late teens and doing theater and improv, I remember a huge lesson. This was when I was 18 or 19. I remember having nights doing the performances, the plays I was doing where I felt I kicked so much butt and I was in it and ferociously good. Friends of mine or people I trusted will be like, “You were okay.” I was like, “Really? I felt like I was so good.” Other nights where I felt like I was not engaged and not in it and not even thinking about it, they would conversely go like, “You were on fire, you were so visceral, real and emotional.” I’d be like, “How does this make any sense?” I remember talking to my theater teacher at that time, his name was Dale Van Dorp. You could imagine by Dale Van Dorp how he spoke.

It was a very low baritone, “I’m Dale Van Dorp.” He’s like, “When you’re up there and your mind is concentrating on how good you think you’re doing, you’re not in the character. You’re not in the moment. You’re thinking about being in the moment, but you’re not in the moment but when you’re enraptured in the moment and you’re not like, ‘I’m doing great right now,’ then you’re living it and being present to what’s happening in front of you.” I was like, “That’s such a massive distinction.” It’s interesting you bring that up because sometimes when you think you’re doing good, you’re doing it to get an effect out of people like, “I’m going to do the best performance ever. I’m going to sing my butt off. I’m going to be the most amazing lead in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” whatever it is. When we’re thinking about doing a good job and we’re trying too much, we ended up not doing a good job because we’re not in the moment being fully present to what we’re doing.

Sometimes people can see the lack of authenticity as well. That’s part of it is the reaction, somebody is trying to get your attention, trying too hard, to look attractive enough to you, and that can turn people off. We’ve been talking about here is that people don’t want to see you too much in your ego. It triggers them in a lot of ways. 

In that sense, what that brings up to me, Whitney is cultivating a sense of calm, quiet confidence. There were a lot of seasoned cues in that sentence. You bring this up because there’s truth to the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. One of his most attributed famous quotes is, “Care what others think of you and you will always be their slave.” There’s a certain amount of emotional and personal autonomy and liberation that we achieved by training ourselves, not to care what people think of us but as tribal beings in human society. There is a level of caring what people think about us. Perhaps, there’s a balance we can achieve of not being too egotistical, self-deprecating and deflecting but somewhere in the middle where we have a healthy amount of self-belief and self-confidence. Not so much where we are overcompensating and have too much swagger and ego when we walk into a room but also not hating ourselves and not thinking that we’re pieces of shit, our art, and our books sucker, writing or whatever our vocation is. There’s a middle ground somewhere that feels calm, quiet confidence that’s not too egotistical and not too self-deprecating.

It’s an interesting dance that we play and it’s one of those examples of don’t you wish that you had been taught these things about how to socialize when you’re growing up. A lot of these elements of life are so common. This is a very common struggle that people face, “How do I interact with the world in all these different situations? What do I do when I receive a compliment?” The other way could be what do you do when you receive criticism? They’re very similar. It’s just the awkwardness of trying to figure out how to respond and all the learned behavior we have based on noticing how other people respond to compliments. We start to use some of those or we feel so awkward, we don’t even know what to do at all. There are a couple more examples from the Art of Manliness and then it gets into why we deflect compliments, which I’m interested to read.

Number nine on this list is that the recipient suggests that thing being complimented isn’t as great as the complimenter is suggesting such as, “That’s a handsome sweater.” With the response, “It’s so old. I’ve had it since high school.” Responses like that I should say make me feel a little uncomfortable. Similar to a lot of these because if I was the person giving the compliment, I’d be annoyed if they said that. I don’t care how old it is. I don’t care if you think it’s great. I like your sweater. In a way, I’ll feel offended that they’re deflecting it. Another interesting side of this is if you’re the person giving the compliment and somebody rejects your compliment, deflects them, is it common for me to feel a little annoyed with that? Do you have that experience, Jason? 

I do and I feel annoyed not because they haven’t accepted my compliment in the sense of me trying to give them a gift and then it’s rejected. I feel more annoyed that I’m like, “Doesn’t this person love themself?” I’m more annoyed by like, “You must think very little of yourself not to see this in you.” It’s annoying but it’s a little bit sad.

That’s the thing is when you discuss these things, you realize that you do them a lot too. Does that mean that you don’t love yourself? This is interesting reflecting on this because I have the same reaction, Jason. I’ll have this moment of like, “What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you accept the compliment?” We need to examine our own selves and realize that we do a lot of these things too. We might not even be aware of it. 

As you’re going down this list, some of them have resonated as in, “I definitely do that.” Some no but some have been like, “I do that too.”

The last one on this list is the credit transfer. The recipient transfers the praise to others. For example, “I think that was the best dance we’ve ever had.” “It was Jill who did all the work and made it happen.”

The bodies we inhibit changes, which is the nature of our being. Click To Tweet 

I resonate with this one because I have a version of this. My two passions are food and music in life. Whenever I’m working on say a dish like I’m making dinner with someone or in the past collaborating with other musicians on a track and be like, “That track was dope.” “This turned out delicious.” My version of that would be like, “Thanks to you.” Earnestly like, believing in my bandmates or believing in whoever the friend or significant other I’m making dinner with, but deflecting it in a way being it’s thanks to you, not taking any credit for it whatsoever.

This article is one of the better pieces I’ve come across. This next section is why we deflect compliments. This is coming from that book they referenced called The Assertiveness Workbook which I’m going to look up because I’m super curious about it. It seems like an interesting resource. The author of that book says there are a few reasons why we deflect compliments. Number one is we’re afraid of being seen as conceited as we talked about. This is the most common reason. They worry that by agreeing with somebody else’s praise of them, they are praising themselves and thus being smug. Number two is the need to restore what they perceive as balance. Since the 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 next reason for this is this desire to avoid indebtedness. This is the worry that if someone does something nice for you like offering a compliment, you will owe them something nice in return and will thus be indebted to them in some way.

Can I riff on that quickly? I know there’s more to this article. It’s so unbelievably deep and juicy already. The biggest example of what you said, this idea of indebtedness, is when someone says, I love you and you feel like you have to say it back. I’m not saying that it’s always that way. I’m saying there are moments sometimes where certainly when someone says I love you and you’re feeling that back. It’s completely appropriate to say that you’re feeling it and you can feel that person’s heart behind their words. There have been situations in life where you get into a relationship for the first time or it’s new or whatever and someone says I love you or maybe it can be at the end of a relationship or during a challenging period. The phrase I love you seems to have a particular weight to it in this frame of feeling indebted to someone like you have to say it back. Does that resonate with you? Do you feel what I’m saying?


It’s an interesting thing about this idea of tit for tat in our society. The other example of this that came up for me is gift-giving. During the holidays when friends or family members, there’s no conversation around, “We’re going to give each other gifts.” You go to dinner or you go to a party and then they have a gift for you, but you don’t have a gift for them. This happened one holiday. Here’s a mutual friend of ours and she brought me a gift and we hadn’t discussed it. I immediately was like, “We didn’t talk about this then you bring me this big old bag of stuff. I have nothing for you because we didn’t talk about it. Now I feel indebted to you.” I felt so awful about it. I had to look at why I felt so awful like I owed her something in exchange.

That reminds me of the five love languages and how we each have different ways that we express love or care for other people. If the audience is not familiar, the five love languages are words of affirmation which will count as a compliment, gifts, act of service, physical touch, and quality time. I think that words of affirmation are my number. I’ve taken the quiz a few times and it often depends on my state of being at that time. For the most part, my top two have been words of affirmation and quality time. Remember that music video I sent you, Jason, about compliments, and it was like that German guy? Will you try to spring it based on what you remember?

No, I’m going to horribly butcher it but it was something like, “Why don’t you give me any compliments? All I want is a compliment. I don’t hear any compliments.”

I don’t think this is funny because I feel like you deflected the compliment. I asked Jason, “Will you sing the song?” Your first thing is “I’m going to butcher it.” You sang it. You did a great job. I complimented you and then you immediately said, “No,” I deflected it. I did not do that on purpose. I did not bring this up for you in the example. It is funny to notice that because I thought you did a great job. Why did you assume you weren’t going to do a good job.?

We go back to music which I mentioned that there’s some element of me that feels like I need to do it perfectly. I need to sing it perfectly. I need to be amazing on stage. I need to hit all the notes in the correct pitch. I need to blow people away. If I don’t do it right, whether it’s a cover song or an original then I beat the shit out of myself. It’s interesting in real-time you and I having this, at this moment on the show of exactly what I detailed. I still need to work and it doesn’t come up with food, writing, or any of my other creative passions, it comes up with music. Me being a performer and a singer, I still have this ultra-critical viewpoint of myself, which you just brilliantly detailed.

It’s interesting because I enjoy words of affirmation and I like to receive them but it depends on the situation. Sometimes I’ll ask for them and that was the reason I thought that compliments music video was so funny because I identified myself in that. The theme of the video was that this person is doing all of these things around the house and they were very minimal. This guy who was wanting to be complimented for everything that he did, which is funny. I could relate to it because I like when somebody gives me praise and sometimes they outright ask for it. I’ll say to Jason, “I want to be acknowledged for that.” I enjoy it when somebody acknowledges me for doing something that’s meaningful and I find myself asking significant others for that. 

I’m asking friends sometimes. It’s funny because it doesn’t feel it’s in my ego. I’m trying to let people know what makes me feel good. Having that knowledge of what the five love languages are and asking for what you need and helps you feel like you’re thriving and confident is helpful. It’s also interesting because I’m not like that in every scenario. Sometimes when people compliment me, I get embarrassed. In fact, noticing my physical reaction to a compliment that made me feel uncomfortable. I was on the Zoom call, Jason, and they were listing out all of the people that were there and they’re like, “Susie is good at so-and-so and Michael is good at this.” They’re going down the line, not everybody, but they were randomly picking people and they’re like, “Whitney is too pretty to be here.” I found my face flushed red. Why did you react that way, Jason? 

That’s a weird compliment.

It was weird, especially because this is a total stranger and this is the first time I’d ever met this guy. I’m there on a Zoom call trying to contribute my intellect and he points out my appearance. I wasn’t offended by it but I was embarrassed. I felt my whole face got hot and my cheeks got red. I’m sitting there trying not to look uncomfortable at that moment but inside I was uncomfortable.

You’re throwing up on yourself, you’re projectile vomiting. You’re like, “I’m sorry. When I get weird compliments, I automatically throw up on myself.”

There would certainly be a part of me that enjoyed that because in that moment, I didn’t feel that attractive. I’m sitting there, my hair wasn’t brushed and I threw on a shirt for the Zoom call and no makeup. It was nice when somebody finds you attractive when you don’t think that you’re attractive at a moment. It goes back to what you were saying, Jason when you were performing and you weren’t trying to be a good performer, but you receive a compliment. There’s part of our egos that’s like, “Somebody sees us as being good even when we don’t feel we’re at our best.” I do like that experience and so it’s interesting to reflect on why I was embarrassed. I don’t know but I had an automatic physical response to that. I always think that’s interesting when that happens, how our bodies respond to people’s words.

If I may as a point of consideration, I came up with this particular way he phrased it like what did he say? “Whitney’s too pretty to be here.” Is that correct?

It was something like that. He was being nice about it. In his delivery, it was not rude or minimizing. That’s not how I interpreted it. I don’t know why he said it but he did.

It also, in a way, sets up a container of comparison with the other people on the call, which is maybe why you’re so uncomfortable because he’s calling you out for being the way he said it, implying that you’re the most physically attractive person on the call. Therefore, setting up a container for comparison which could possibly make everyone else feel uncomfortable if they’re looking at your face and going, “She is way more attractive than me.” That’s exactly why I reacted because he’s setting up the comparison by that statement.

That’s so true. Now that you’re saying that, I remember thinking inside, I was wanting to show my value as more than a person that somebody found physically attractive. I immediately was like, “I need to add more to this conversation that shows my intelligence. I don’t want to be perceived as the ‘pretty’ girl on the Zoom call. I want to be perceived as an intelligent helpful person.” That’s something I battled a lot throughout my life. Part of the reason I find appearance-related compliments uncomfortable is most human beings have the desire to be attractive. That’s part of how we feel like we fit in. That’s part of status especially as women, we’ve been conditioned to feel like there’s a lot of value on our appearance.

If you don’t feel physically attractive, you feel like you’re not valuable, important and you won’t be seen. I also strive and place much more emphasis on my intelligence and my ability to contribute because I don’t feel that my appearance is a contribution. My personality or my knowledge is the biggest contribution that there is. At that particular moment, I felt small. I felt like, “They’re going to see me as that. This person doesn’t see me as any more important than how I look.” I felt this strong desire to start to share how much I could help them versus sit there and look pretty. That’s the struggle because it’s interesting with women where many of us have that desire to be perceived as pretty and yet through a lot of history, women have only been perceived as pretty. They haven’t been historically important in other ways.

The reason that women want to be perceived as attractive so badly is that they feel like that’s where their power is. If they’re not perceived as attractive then what else do they have to give? Society focuses a lot on this and puts a lot of emphasis on women and how they look, dress, how they do their hair and makeup. Likewise, we often do the exact opposite where we criticize women as focusing too much on their appearance. She’s self-absorbed with herself. All she does is post pretty pictures of herself but she has nothing to say. She spends hours putting on her makeup and doing her hair and she spends all her money on clothes. Doesn’t she have anything else to add to society? It’s bizarre. It’s tough to be a woman for that reason. When you have those two extremes and you’re always trying to find the balance, at least I do. I want to be physically attractive and I want to be intelligent. I want to contribute and I want to be useful. 

This is a fascinating thing that you’re talking about, Whitney, because I talked to my mom, Susan, about this subject often in the sense of the works in a high position in the medical field. My mom is a physically attractive woman and also a very skilled, intelligent woman. She has been told by people she has worked with at points in her career that she was “intimidating.” It’s not because my mom is an intimidating human being. She’s a very kind person. We’ve discussed it about this double standard of we want you to be pretty but not too smart and too capable. I’m speaking from a patriarchal perspective because that means that you might perform better, do better, and be paid more than us. I’m speaking from the old paradigm patriarchy where a lot of this conditioning comes from of the mixed messages of, “Use your power, use your beauty, use the alignment with the standards we’ve set, but don’t get too successful, intelligent, skilled or talented because then we’re going to feel threatened.” You’ll be “intimidating.” It’s interesting to reflect because that conversation with my mom came up about how she faces that in her professional career and she’s faced it for decades.

MGU 65 | Compliments

Compliments: Denial and deflection decrease the likelihood of someone complimenting you again.


We could do a whole episode on beauty standards and women and all of that. It’s the tip of the iceberg. We’ll get into that more. Beauty is more than skin deep, or is it just skin deep? That’s the big trick. It all depends on how you define beauty and how you perceive other people.

You bring that up, Whitney, and it’s interesting because you bring up what we perceive as beautiful. I reflect on dates that I’ve been on with women where I found them very much physically attractive in the elements of how they dressed or their body or how they carried themselves. I didn’t feel a deep connection or beauty with their sense of how they want to live their lives, ethics, or values in the world, what resonates with them, and what matters to them. You talk about it being skin deep. For me, how I perceive beauty is not just the container that a person’s in, the meat suit, the flesh suit as we will because that’s going to age, change and evolve. That’s something we need to be mindful of is the person we are in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and onward. These organisms, these bodies that we inhabit are going to change. That is the nature of their being. That’s the nature of how cells changed, evolve, die, and regenerate. The container has to change. I’m more interested in how beautiful a person’s heart is and their sense of empathy, ethics, fairness, and generosity. That resonates way deeper in terms of how I find a person beautiful than the container they’re in.

It’s so much about self-care and that’s a big part of what we believe in with our work here with Wellevatr and this show. It was making me think about our sponsor, Sunwarrior, because they have that Beauty Greens Collagen Booster powder which we love, especially their Pina colada flavor for collagen. Collagen has been so interesting with the health world especially because Jason and I are each vegans. We’re plant-based and most colleges out there are made from animal products. There’s marine collagen or bovine collagen. 

Both of those are the big ones.

They’re appealing to me but I haven’t taken any of them because they are not vegan. I’ve been noticing my desire to try them because I see all these beautiful women showing off these products that they use for their appearance. I get excited when their products like the Beauty Greens Collagen because I’m curious about what that will do for me. The reason that I take products like that, supplements if you would call them that, is because they’re taking care of my insides. As you were saying, Jason, we don’t have control over our age. We can do these anti-aging things. We can support our bodies. That’s a very beautiful thing to do is when you are taking good care of your body, you’re not being mindful of your intelligence. Let’s be honest, the way that somebody looks is the first thing that we see most of the time unless we’re purely communicating with someone with no visual images, which is very rare because online we usually see photos or videos.

Even if it’s not in person, we still lead with our appearance. It’s an important balance. This is why I take good care of myself. Even though I get annoyed with these beauty standards. I don’t want to put on makeup and brush my hair but that doesn’t mean that I’m not eating well and hydrating my body. This is why I experiment with different supplements to see do they make a difference in my appearance but also how do they make me feel? When I feel good, I’m more confident. When I’m more confident, that in itself is also perceived. To your point, Jason, it’s not about the literal physical elements like do you like her nose? Do you like the way she did her makeup or hair? Does she feel like she’s taking good care of herself? You’ve talked about this too, Jason, how you’ve dated women and then unattracted to them because you don’t like the way that they’re eating. I could agree too because I’ve been with men that eat like shit and I find that unattractive. With you, Jason, when we were dating, I remember you used to make me smoothies and you were using Sunwarrior back then. This is back in 2012.

I had already been using their stuff for years at that point. The reason I started using it like legit was that I was physically fit and wanted a good protein powder. To that point, all the protein powders I had tried before making Sunwarrior smoothies would rip my gut up. I’ve always had a sensitive gut. It was the first protein powder I’d ever tried in 2010. I think it was the first time I tried their stuff where it didn’t give me gut pain and it didn’t give me the protein bloat. That’s a thing a lot of people know. If the audience does a lot of the proteins, you’ll be crushing a workout like ab day, you’re feeling lean, sexy, ripped and then you have your protein powder and then you get bloated. It’s like, “I just worked out.”

It’s the opposite of their formulation because I know I’ve been taking the Lean Meal and they have probiotics in them. They’re designed for your gut health, which is great. I remember to go back to my point is that Jason would make me these smoothies every morning when we first started dating. It’d be funny if the girl that you’re dating, whether it’s the time that we’re doing this or some future girl, but who knows? Maybe it’ll be the same girl. I’m feeling like I’m digging myself a grave right here and I’m trying to get out of it. It’s funny when you find out things about men that you’re dating, you’re like, “Have they always done that? Have they done that for every girl?” If you’re a girl that’s dating Jason and he’s making you smoothies, the cat’s out of the bag. He used to make me smoothies too when we are dating.

For the record, my mother told me when I was a young man, “If you learn how to make food and make it well, you’re never going to be lonely.” I took that as a sign that I can extend the love, affection, and appreciation to the woman in my life by making good food for her” That stuck with me in the sense that if we examine generalized cultural narratives that generally speaking, a lot of men don’t know what they’re doing in the kitchen. They weren’t taught it. They had no desire to learn it or they associate it with being a feminine activity. That’s not fully true but a lot of men will be like, “I’m not cooking. I don’t know how to cook. I don’t care about it.”

A lot of men also make smoothies. I’m going to say as a woman, if you can make a delicious smoothie and give it to a girl when she wakes up in the morning or after her workout, it’s an incredibly easy thing to do to show love. If it’s made with great ingredients then everybody is winning here. I didn’t even mean to make that point. The story of how we’re tying into going from compliments to what makes somebody attractive. That in itself is an act of service to go back to the five love languages. You’re doing something for somebody else. You’re taking care of them by giving them high-quality food that also happens to taste good and make you feel good. 

It gives you long-term benefits of perhaps making you more radiant. Your skin looks good, you’re glowing when your gut is in good health. It’s so interesting how all of this comes full circle. This ties into the compliments because one of the reasons people deflect compliments is because they don’t have that self-confidence. I can go back to this list here and one of the next reasons on the list for not accepting a compliment is the fact that a lot of people have 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 complementary positive view of you into your own negative one. You look for ways to find their assessment faulty.

It’s like your Columbo, the detective, “I need that. It sounds like the premise is faulty here. I need to find out what’s going on. The evidence doesn’t add up.” You’re the compliment Columbo.

Jason, from now on, I insist you do voices. We did an episode on Star Wars. You do your Yoda but you sound like a different person when you do these voices.

Thank you for the compliment, Whitney.

You’re welcome. Here’s another reason we deflect compliments that ties into this point is the desire to look even better. People will sometimes use false modesty as a way of trying to make themselves look even better. They may seek to add modesty to the other qualities they’re being complimented on. 

We talk about Gary Vee sporadically here on the show and how he shifts his messaging. I feel like him along with a couple of others, but for some reason, Gary Vee comes up. You see a lot of these motivational people talk about humility and it’s being drilled into us. Humility is convoluted and this comes up with what you’re saying, Whitney about wanting to appear humble, but you’re not humble. You feel pressured to be humble because Gary Vee and Tony Robbins tell you to be. That’s what comes up for me. It’s an interesting sensitive thing. What is actual humility? What is the definition of being humble? I’m asking what do you think it means? When it comes up for me, it’s almost not walking around thinking you’re the shit and telling everyone you’re the shit or proving you’re the shit. Is it knowing you’re the shit and not saying it? What does humility mean in our culture?

I’m not sure. I’m hoping there might be some answers when I finally get to the end of this article because it’s so good. The next section was about why you should graciously and fully accept compliments. The humility answer in there. Number one is the denial and deflection insults the giver. We talked about how you’re contradicting somebody and in a way of saying they don’t have good judgment, discernment, tastes or that they’re insincere. You’re returning their kind words with an insult. That’s important to keep in mind. If you want to be kind to other people, be mindful of how to receive a compliment. Number two is that denial and deflection make the giver feel uncomfortable. We talked about that too.

Denial and deflection insults the giver. Click To Tweet

When we miss a compliment because it makes us uncomfortable, we’re transferring the discomfort to the giver. I didn’t think about that. Not only do you insult them, but rejecting a compliment often makes the giver feel awkward, uncomfortable, stupid, or frustrated. Where do they go from here? They’re stuck with the tiresome task of offering the reassurance of their sincerity like, “No, I do think so.” This is a very complex subject. I’m glad that we dug into this because I was not feeling confident about the subject matter when we started, but now I want to keep thinking about this. This is fascinating and something worth practicing. It does take practice to figure all of this out. I feel a little bit overwhelmed but also challenged. I’m looking forward to getting a compliment now. 

It’s to be able to practice how you handle it.

The next one is denial and deflection decreases the likelihood of someone complimenting you again. I don’t want to do that as somebody who likes words of affirmation. “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 you’re so insecure you can’t even recognize and/or acknowledge that you do. Either way, it diminishes your value in their eyes.” Like we were saying, Jason, how we judge people when they can’t receive a compliment. It makes you unattractive to the ladies who like a man to be confident in this context.

It also isn’t impressive to your employer if you’re always telling your boss that so and so is the one who deserves all the credit for the success of a project. Why should they give you a raise or keep you around? That’s a good point too. Another reason is 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 you self-esteem. Lastly, 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 somebody’s praise, you are busy formulating your own compliment. Do you find yourself doing that, Jason, when you give somebody else a compliment that you’re trying to deflect it and you’re not even paying attention or receiving it? 

The boomerang thing makes sense for sure. In the sense of feeling, there’s a weird societal obligation to do that or I assume they expect me to give one back. The boomerang compliment is a thing that I have been apt to do.

I’m excited to get to this last section of the article, which is how to accept the compliment. The best response to a compliment is thank you. They said there’s never a situation where a simple unadorned thank you won’t work. That brought me back to high school. I am realizing that I did learn this. Somebody did teach me this when I was in high school. I was about fifteen years old. There was this guy who was a guidance counselor. I don’t know if you had this at your school. I went to a small school in a small town. It was always unclear exactly what his role was, at least to me. He was somebody I would go to for advice. I looked at him as a guidance counselor but there was an official guidance counselor that I also went to and that wasn’t him. I’m not sure, but I do remember he taught me a lot of helpful life lessons and one of them was about how to receive a compliment.

It’s all coming back to me. His words were, “You just need to say thank you.” I remember being a teenager and feeling incredibly uncomfortable back then as many teenagers do. Isn’t that cool when old memories come back and you’re like, “I completely forgot about that.” I have to take what I said back with how we need to be taught these things. Sometimes we are taught things but it takes them years and years for us to realize what they mean or to start putting them into practice. Part of that is with learning. We need to hear things over and over again. He’s the only person I can think of who taught me to say thank you when somebody compliments me. 

I wonder if he was an employee of the school or the man who wandered in one day. It’s like, “Who’s Mr. Farley? Did you hire him?” “No.” “He’s here every single day standing in the hallway giving people advice. Should we let him stay?” He just wandered and one day never left.

Honestly, it felt like that. He was a controversial guy and I want to go ask some of my old high school friends like, “What was his role? Why was he there?” I got to try to remember his full name. I can look him up and do some digging. He had an office underneath the stairway. 

He walked into your school one day carrying a desk and a chair in and set it up under the stairs and no one ever decided to kick. It’s like, “He’s not hurting anybody so we might as let him stay.”

There are some of the follow-ups to thank you, this article which is so lovely and the That being said, sometimes it’s more comfortable and appropriate to offer a follow-up to your thank you or an amplifier that shows how much the compliment meant to you. This is a tactic I use which is I’ll say thank you and then write more if I’m on Instagram for example. You could say, “Thank you, I enjoyed it or thank you, I’m glad it worked out so well.” If somebody said like, “You did a great job performing.” You could say like, “I’m glad that you enjoyed it. Thank you.” It couldn’t have happened without Jason’s help. You’re saying thank you for the compliment but you’re also giving credit to somebody else. You’re doing it after you’re accepting the credit for your own role then that doesn’t deflect it fully. Another would be, “Thank you. I am happy I could help.” This is a good alternative to just doing my job deflection. You were doing your job, but don’t rebuff and deny somebody’s desire to show their appreciation. If you want to do the boomerang, you would say thank you. “You also played great tonight. Nice job.” You’re receiving and it’s not technically a boomerang because you’re adding onto it.

What if you gave people to left them confused, complimented them but also like, “You did a great job on the court. You played a great game.” You go, “Thank you. I enjoy looking at your face. I enjoy looking at you. You’re pleasurable to look at.”

That makes me a little awkward.

What about, “I like the sound of your voice especially when you compliment me?” No, conceited.

There were a few more that you could use instead of saying thank you or as an amplifier which would be, “That means a lot.” I feel like you have the little overused. I say that a lot. I find myself trying to find different ways to say that. Another one could be, “I appreciate you noticing that. No one ever has before.” If that’s genuine, you could use that. This is my favorite on this list. “I was feeling down and this is the encouragement I need to keep going.” That feels very sincere. We’ve spent a lot of time going into that article and so I skipped over a bunch of others. One of them that could be fun reading is 100 Funny and Clever Replies to Compliments.

That is what I was attempting to do.

It’s a sweet little list and they have all these different examples including one from Han Solo when Princess Leia said, “I love you.” He said, “I know.” That could be perceived as being in the ego, but you could also say, “I’m quoting Star Wars.” 

“I was doing an impression of Han Solo.”

It’s funny because if you look through this list, a lot of them are funny but you have to be clear about why you’re saying these things. Are you trying to deflect by being funny? That’s a slippery slope with it. This article is very good. They end the article after this long list. They said that the saying thanks is enough. That seems to be the big theme here. There’s no need to give a long response. You can personalize it if you want. You can use an emoji if you’d like. When somebody replies to my compliment with an emoji, it’s a little like, “You phoned it in.” Have you ever gone through the Instagram comments under a post and you see somebody replying to every single comment the same way? I don’t like that.

We know you appreciate it, prayer hands.

This is also an interesting thing too. One of the articles I pulled up was from Fast Company. They referenced this book called The Power Of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach To Giving Yourself The Life You Want and Deserve. That’s something that you and I have talked a lot about, Jason. This could be a separate episode about how important it is to receive. Many of us are in giving mode. We’re trying to find ways to contribute. We’re giving and we’re exerting all of our energy, but we also have to receive. Receiving a compliment is part of receiving. Learning and practicing to receive something without feeling the need to give something back to boomerang, for example, is important. 

It reminds of a quote that I learned from Matthew and Terces Englehart. They’re founders of Cafe Gratitude. They did a Kindred Spirits workshop and they said, “Abundance is consciously receiving that which has already been given.” That quote always stuck with me for years of someone giving you a compliment, someone showering you with praise, love or adoration and the gift, the abundance is whether you accept it or not because it’s already been given. The question is, are you going to receive it or are you going to reject it?

I also like in this article they say, “It’s important to see thank you as a full sentence.” You don’t always have to add on to it. You can simply just say thank you. When I pulled up, I thought it sounds like something that you would do a little voice on Jason. This website, it’s called the Gentleman’s Gazette and the article’s entitled How To Accept A Compliment Like Gentlemen.

The first one would be like, “It’s my pleasure, my lady. My pleasure, indeed.”

The Art of Manliness was nice. This one’s worth checking out. It’s got some good images here. I found an article on, How to Be Human: Giving the Right Compliment to Somebody About Their Body. That we could even do a part two to this one, how complicated it is when it comes to body talk. It’s worth touching upon here because part of the inspiration and part of the string throughout this whole episode is how much we can be complimented on our bodies, even if it’s something that you’re wearing. Women struggle with this a lot and it’s a challenging thing. What do you say when somebody says something about you like they did in that Zoom? What do you say when somebody says that you’re photogenic or you’re beautiful, “I wish I was as pretty, thin, and curvy as you?”

All of these things, “You’ve lost so much weight.” That’s another one that can be uncomfortable. It’s a complicated subject matter. One thing I’ve been working on when it comes to conscious languaging, which is something Jason and I are very passionate about, is trying not to compliment somebody especially a woman, and saying like, “You’re so pretty.” Tell them that they’re radiant. Tell them that they look happy. You said this about one of our friends, Jason. You said that she was glowing and I liked that. To me, that feels so powerful and getting away from the superficial. It’s not trying to make someone feel like they’re only good if they look good. They’re only good if they’re a certain size or if they’ve lost weight. That’s a tricky thing. There’s a part of us that wants to point out when we think that somebody looks better than usual. That can be offensive in a way. If you say somebody looks radiant, that’s an easy compliment to give and to receive.

Consult the Thesaurus. If you want to pay someone a compliment and you don’t want to be like, “You’re pretty, you look hot, you’re so sexy.” Dig in and be like, “Is it because they radiate amazing energy?” Tell them their energy is amazing and positive and it makes you feel great. It’s not because I’m calculated about it but if I’m giving someone a compliment, I want it to be organic and genuine but I also want it to be specific. I want to put effort into letting them know why I feel this way about them. If I receive a compliment and it’s with a level of specificity and intention, I tend to receive it very differently than if it’s in passing or being done out of obligation or being forced because you can feel the energy behind the compliment.

This article has a quote that I’ve read before and I hope I don’t botch the name credit. It’s by Rupi Kaur

She’s a wonderful poet.

The poem is, “I want to apologize to all the women I have called pretty before I called them intelligent or brave. I’m sorry, I made it sound as though something as simple as what you’re born with is the most you to be proud of when your spirit has crushed mountains. From now on, I will say things like you are resilient or you are extraordinary. It’s not because I don’t think you’re pretty but because you are so much more than that.”

It deeply resonates with a lot of people in the sense that most people don’t want to be appreciated for one dimension of their personhood. As you were saying, Whitney, if someone’s appreciated for the fact that they have a body that is adhering to society’s beauty standards and not appreciated for their mind, their intellect or their creativity, then there’s a predisposition to someone feeling pigeonholed or only valued for one part of themselves. From a mental health perspective, that can be hard to deal with when you feel like people are only appreciating you for one reason and one reason only.

As we were saying, beauty comes from within whether it’s your food choices, it’s your words, your conscious languaging or it’s your intelligence. It’s ultimately about doing our best not to judge people. That’s been a thread through in this conversation. To emphasize it, whether you’re receiving a compliment or giving a compliment, there’s a lot of pressure there. It’s also about awareness as we talk about so much on this show and one of our biggest pieces of advice is tuning into why you’re feeling the way that you’re feeling? Why you’re saying the things that you’re saying? The conscious language. Are you judging people based on how they look or what they’re saying and how they’re reacting in that one moment as well? Focusing on the depth of who you are as a human being. If you’re feeling insecure, if you’re feeling a lack of confidence, one of the best things that you can do is continue to do the internal work. The more that you love yourself, the more people perceive you as a lovely person, but it’s incredibly important for each of us to feel good about ourselves, secure, confident, beautiful, and radiant. All of these things we’ve been talking about. The more that you do that work, the easier these scenarios become. There’s a big bonus to it. Life feels easier when you’re aware and you love yourself. It gets easier to navigate a lot of these situations.

That was such a beautiful summary. It feels like an outro to me, Whitney. Was that your intention? I was going to say, “Amen. Hallelujah, and we’re done.” It did feel an outro and I appreciate you summarizing that Whitney because self-love gets tossed around a lot as a hashtag, a concept, and a part of our social media landscape so much. Self-love is a process and something we get to practice our entire lifetime because as our bodies, interests, brains and intellect changes and we continue to grow, change and evolve as beings here, loving all of the versions of who we are as we change, that’s a practice. There’s an art to that. This truly is a lifelong journey. This idea of loving, learning to accept ourselves, learning to accept compliments, honoring, and respecting who we are as we go through life. From a perspective of mental health and physical health, eating well and putting good nourishing food in our body, having good nourishing relationships, having friends, and people in our lives that help us learn to love ourselves more.

That’s such a massive part of this conversation. If we have people who are very supportive of our journey and I’ve felt this way having battled with loving myself and accepting myself, I still am hard on myself especially when it comes to my art and my music. Having people in my life that serve as loving reflections that I’m trying to love myself more and accept the reflections that I have from other people. Surrounding yourself with wonderful people is such an intrinsic part of this. We also want to thank again our sponsor, Sunwarrior for this episode as we talk about beauty standards and compliments. If you dear audience want to take advantage of their wonderful delicious organic plant-based foods that Whitney and I both enjoy from their collagen boosters to their lean protein to all of their great superfood vegan line of products. If you decide to order Sunwarrior products, you will save 10% on your entire order and you will love their products as much as we have.

MGU 65 | Compliments

Compliments: Complimenting someone with comments that are not superficial can be so powerful.


Especially because they’re all about beauty from the inside out. I pulled up their little info sheet for their Beauty Greens collagen we talked about which has that delicious pina colada flavor. I love what they say. They say, “Beauty is only skin deep, but Sunwarrior has taken beauty deeper to every cell because beauty should do more than look amazing. Beauty should feel amazing.” This is why we work brands like Sunwarrior. It’s very much in alignment. 

They’re all about the inside job. As we talk about our mindfulness principles, what we eat, how we choose to live, and how we choose to work on ourselves, it truly is on every level. You hear about mind, body, spirit, but that is the game we are playing. It’s a lifelong practice and putting good nourishing food like the Sunwarrior products that I’ve been enjoying. Whitney’s been enjoying for years since I started those morning smoothies for her.

I’m trying to think if I’d been using Sunwarrior. I associate you with Sunwarrior because you’ve done so much work with them. We’ve worked on projects with them together. The two of us have loved Sunwarrior for so long. Did you go out to their factory? 

I’ve been to HQ multiple times and seeing how they make products and met the entire team. The big thing is we want to make sure that whatever we talk about, what we use in our daily lives, we believe in and wholeheartedly. I know that their hearts and their minds are wanting to provide the absolute best superfood products out there and do it with integrity, standards, and the best, cleanest formulation.

They make good merchandise, I have to say. We might need to do a giveaway. It started off with cool T-shirts. Remember I had that pink Sunwarrior T-shirt, Jason? I might still have it somewhere. I might have finally gotten rid of it but I had that for years and I would wear it a lot. It was very comfortable and cute, but then they graduated into a backpack. Didn’t they even have a Sunwarrior branded like Bluetooth stereo or speaker?

I have the backpacks, sacred geometry t-shirts, and the swag game is next level.

They go to the maximum with everything that they do. One last note about the beauty side of it. If you’re going to take good care of your inside, you might as well get some external benefits. Have your cake and eat it too. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look beautiful. If you can combine internal and external beauty then you get the best of both worlds. If you’re going to eat great food, but good ingredients in your body. They happen to help you boost your collagen, reduce signs of aging, make you look more hydrated, and all the many benefits of your gut health. The reason that I love the holistic perspective is everything comes full circle. What you do for your inside helps with the outside, and sometimes what you do with the outside helps with the inside. 

I have the piña colada song stuck in my head.

You have to sing it. 

“If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.” As we wrap this episode, I am going to go and make a Beauty Greens Piña Colada flavor. Thank you, Sunwarrior, for always being here for us.

I am going to make my new favorite recipe. When I think of Sunwarrior, I think of the salted caramel coffee smoothie. I made a YouTube video for this and I’m a little bit addicted. I already had it once. I’m going to have it again. It’s like when you hear something, a word or a phrase and it triggers something in you. It’s an automated knee jerk reaction on me now. It’s a good thing. I can’t complain. We’d done our official wrap up but we’ve talked about our website, There’s so much information on there. We have lots of free goodies for you. We have discounts on products that we love like Sunwarrior. We want to shower you with as much as we can, give you lots of resources that you can thrive internally and externally in every aspect of your life personally and professionally. That is our aim here. We’re grateful for you and we’d love to continue the conversation.

Self-love is a process and something we get to practice our entire lifetime. Click To Tweet

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