Why women are terrible at accepting compliments (article)
- Diane Mapes TODAY
“When someone tells me something good about myself, I always have a reason why they’re wrong,” she says. “I think we all feel ‘less than’. Less than what we should have been. Less than what we thought we were going to be. Or we listened to people who said we were less than. This is a big issue with women.”
Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., says it has to do with the mixed messages women receive about what behaviors are desirable or acceptable.
“[We’re told] love yourself, but not too much. Be confident, but practice a style of humility this culture never requires of men. Believe in yourself, but never admit it out loud, lest you make another woman who doesn’t feel good about herself feel bad,” she says. “If you’re raised to think it’s arrogant to ever say something positive about yourself, it makes it hard to accept a compliment.”
As for the self-loathing one-upsmanship, she says that has more to do with trying to convince others we’re better at humility.
…Women receive one set of messages telling them to love themselves, to accept themselves and to look in the mirror and see how beautiful they are, to know their worth and lean in and ask for what they want, she says.
“But we still live in a world that isn’t quite comfortable with women who do acknowledge their worth,” she says. “We see them as arrogant and often as unfeminine.”
Men, on the other hand, aren’t held to the same standards. “Men don’t care so they don’t do it,” agrees Maisonneuve. …
Also a good thing: Schumer’s message, says Engeln.
“It’s a message from women to women that says ‘Let’s stop this nonsense,’” she says. “What comes out of our mouths matters. What we say affects what we think and how we behave. One of the best things we can model for girls and young women is how to accept a compliment with tact and grace.”