How To Receive Praise Gracefully

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Have you ever received a lot of praise and felt awkward because you didn’t know how to respond? That happened to me recently. It was my first time being an MC, and near the end, I got strong public praise from some colleagues. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing, and it was kind of awkward.

Afterwards, I decided I should figure out a good way to respond to praise. Some people might view this as a small matter, but I view it as a big deal. If we don’t know how to face praise, not only is it awkward, but we might grow arrogance. There is a Chinese proverb that says,

Human beings all detest arrogant people and like to help humble people. If I start to think that I am better than I actually am, then my arrogance will grow. I might try to do things above my ability. When I do a bad job, people will lose trust in me, and I will have a poor reputation. Once my reputation is ruined, it will be very hard to rebuild. Hence, I need to find a way to respond to praise while maintaining politeness and humility.

Option 1: Brush it off

I could say,

I see a lot of people respond this way to compliments, but to me, it sounds like I am negating the other person’s positive intentions, which might make them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.

Option 2: Accept the compliment

I could say,

This is polite and affirms their positive intentions. It is better than option 1, but the problem is, am I actually deserving of such praise? Probably not. Hence, I shouldn’t fully accept the compliment.

Option 3: View the compliment as encouragement and thank the encouragement.

I could say,

This sounds and feels much better than the previous two options. They praised me very highly, so I view it as encouragement for me to reach that level, but I am not actually at that level yet. I also affirm their positive intentions towards me.

I shared this idea with my mother, and she said I am still arrogant. I replied,

She replied,

Her words really hit the nail on the head. I tried to accept her criticism gracefully and said,

Option 4: Thank the encouragement and give credit away

I could say,

This response is polite, affirms their positive intentions, and prevents arrogance. If I gave a compliment to someone, and they responded in this way, I would feel respect towards that person. I think we have a winner!


When was the last time you received a big compliment? How would you respond to it now?



Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.

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Alex Chen

Passionate about self-cultivation, happiness, and sharing wisdom.