At a seminar conducted by Lusi Group, where I learned, and am still learning soft skills from, they showed a video from Soul Pancake called “Street Compliments”.

It became really obvious in this video: Compliment is a two way street. There is the giver, and there is the receiver.


What connected with me was a statement said by Dr Brené Brown (can’t quite remember if she quoted this from someone else but that’s just the details), something to the effect that, in order to learn to give, we need to learn how to receive. I must say, I think I sort of know why deep down inside, although it irritates me a fair bit that I am unable to explain why this is so.

I can give reasons why we need to learn to receive but I find it difficult to hit the bull’s eye how that has anything to do with learning to give.

But one thing I do know for sure about receiving, and I questioned myself, when someone gives you something, will we accept the gift that we are given, or will we reject it, especially being an Asian society where we always emphasise the importance to be humble? Similarly, when we are given a compliment, will we accept the compliment or will we downplay the compliment? It didn’t really occur to me that clearly until yesterday that if we decide to downplay the compliment, we are rejecting the gift of compliment that was given by someone, who possibly were really wholehearted in giving us a compliment.

Why are we not accepting the gift of compliment humbly? Do we not feel that we are worthy to accept the gift? There’s got to be a difference between being humble and downplaying compliment, which to me, is an action that we might resort to if we do not feel worthy of the gift.

I am guilty of that myself. I would always remember a student of mine who praised me and tell me that I’m the best teacher he ever had, something to that effect. I don’t remember thanking him but I remembered I sidetracked and said that he will be better than me someday. I remembered being really uncomfortable receiving that compliment and I just want to run to some place and hide away. I mean, I know for sure that I am not the best lecturer that the polytechnic has to offer, but I’m the best is his perspective. Am I denying him the opportunity to make an honest opinion about me? I know I’m definitely denying myself to feel great and happy, and a chance to connect better to my student.


The people in that video really look sincere, genuine and happy. We should be more like them too. Don’t you think so?