Sidebar: Wtf is going on in this picture? Is this a ladybug? If so, why is it depicted as a fat, bald old man? Why is he wearing sunglasses? Why does he have arms? Wtf are the bottom two arms doing? And what does he have to do with compliments and feeling good? I need answers.
Anyhoo, compliments in our society have gotten tangled up in the web of etiquette. We are expected to have self-esteem and confidence, but often when we actually exhibit it, it is mistaken for arrogance and/or not being humble. It is possible to exude confidence without being stank, stuck-up, or snotty. Too many of us turn down or deflect compliments when given.
You look nice=oh, I'm fat/bad hair/pimply/a mess
You did a good job on that project=oh it was nothing/I could have done better
You are so funny=I'm weird/a lunatic/a spaz/a tard
...and so on.
Our society has taught us that it's polite to say these things so as to appear grounded. But many human behavior experts/therapists, etc. will tell you that rejecting a compliment makes the complimentor feel you are telling them what they are saying does not matter or they don't know what they're talking about, which is rather offensive and insulting when you get down to it. It also doesn't allow you, the complimentee to absorb the compliment and subsequent good feelings that go along with it.
I think a lot of people deflect compliments because they don't know how to handle them, or don't want to feel pressured into responding with a compliment. I have historically had a problem with this. I get embarrassed really easily, have hated being put on the spot (especially in a group) and I blush easily. Once I recognized this about myself, and realized how I was making myself feel (not worthy as a human), I began to just say thank you, I really appreciate it, that was a really nice thing to say, or something similar. There are not many things more attractive to me in a person than one who is confident and sure, one who values the different opinions of the world, but doesn't let nit-picking or regret slow down their lives. I think it's particularly nice when strangers go out of their way to say something nice to someone. I have personally experienced and witnessed someone noticeably brighten up after a kind word was said. The little things make each day worth living and before you know it, you have a life worth living.
It seems fitting to end this post by encouraging you to compliment someone today but that is not the point of this post. Only compliment someone if you really mean it. Accept compliments that you receive and feel good that someone thought something about you was special enough for them to recognize it.