3 min read

If you don’t like the way you look, chances are that you think if other people thought you were attractive, you’d be much happier. 

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed receiving a compliment for losing weight, gaining muscle or ‘looking well’ in the past, and so you think you’d like more of that.  

Or you see other people getting compliments, and you feel jealous because you’d like to get positive attention too.

I was hooked on seeking praise for my appearance for many years and felt crushed when I didn’t get it.  But since healing a few years ago, I couldn’t care less about what most people think of the way I look.  

Here are 4 reasons why you should worry less about getting compliments for your appearance:

1) Compliments are like any drug - you'll always need another fix.

While it may be wonderful to bask in praise for a moment or two, the high won’t last.  When you make other people’s assessments of your looks your compass in life, you will constantly feel lost, and always be hungering after the next dose of validation.  

It is far more enjoyable to know that your appearance can never be wrong unless it is judged as such, and even then, you don’t need to take any arbitrary judgments to heart.  

You are a part of life, and life is inherently beautiful.

2) The appearance of your body doesn't have anything to do with who you are, so the compliments aren't about you.

If someone says your hair looks nice, you're looking well, you have great eyelashes, or you've lost weight, so what?  What does that say about you?  What do those things have to do with you?  

You may have chosen to exercise more or change your diet, but those actions don't make you a 'better' person.  They may reflect the fact that you're taking care of your body, which would be wonderful, and certainly something to be celebrated.  

But they may also reflect a painful urge to change the way your body looks to try to feel worthy of love.  And that's definitely not something to be celebrated.

Furthermore, the outcome of such actions - how your body looks - is not something you directly control.  Different people can follow the same diet and exercise regimen and end up looking very different.  Does one outcome deserve more praise than another?  And what does the praise have to do with the person inside the body - the being with hopes, dreams, creative ideas and love to share?  What does the shape of someone's nose or the size of their biceps have to do with that?

And as for features that you're simply born with - such as prominent cheekbones or a small waist - they are just parts of the body you live in.  They have nothing to do with the choices you make and evidence of your development as a person.  They say nothing about your ability to be kind, helpful or spread joy.  In short, they have nothing to do with anything that truly matters.  You are so much more than a collection of body parts.

Of course, it can be lovely to enjoy someone's physical appearance, but the joy comes from recognising where their soul is.  Rating someone's physical appearance against predetermined metrics and then communicating your approval has nothing to do with truly seeing and appreciating a human being. 

3) Though usually well-meaning, praise can sometimes be manipulative.

Most of the time people have good intentions when they give us compliments on our appearance.  They want us to feel happy, and because our society places such a ridiculous emphasis on conforming to the so-called ‘beauty standards’, they think that reassuring us that we conform will make us feel good.  They are just trying to be nice.

And sometimes they may even see us clearly, without the filter of judgment, and are simply remarking on the beauty they perceive.  They love us and enjoy beholding us.  They don’t place any conditions on how we should look, and appreciate our appearance as it is, however it is.  

This is how I see my husband – over time his appearance has changed in some ways, but I always delight in looking at him because my gaze is full of love.  

But sometimes when people give you compliments, they are trying to encourage you to conform with how they think you should look. 

  • Maybe they think you should be thinner because they believe you can’t be happy unless you’re thin, or because they feel embarrassed by your size.  
  • Or maybe they think you should wear certain types of clothes that they think are right for you.  
  • Or they think that you will take better care of your body if you have their judgments to guide you.  

They are trying to control you, hoping that their praise will get you to look how they think you should.  

Don’t give your power away to people who don’t respect your right to look the way you do.  Your body is none of their business.  They are probably struggling with their own insecurities which they are projecting onto you.  Don’t get sucked in.

4) Focusing on compliments keeps you focused on other people's opinions, but real happiness comes from within. 

Other people’s approval of your appearance can’t make you happy in the long term.  Happiness comes from:

  • knowing who you really are underneath all the noise of your habitual thoughts;
  • resting in a quiet mind and feeling the love at the core of your being; 
  • being in touch with your own wisdom and creativity and sharing that with the world; and
  • connecting deeply with others through authentic expression. 

Compliments from others can distract you from the real prizes – inner peace, wellbeing, joy, intimacy and zest for life, and those are things that no one else can give to you.  Fortunately, the capacity to experience these prizes is within us all, just waiting to be discovered! 

Integrity, honesty, authenticity and vulnerability are the path to fulfilment.  Chasing compliments is simply a detour.  We can get back on track by going within and getting curious about our own deepest values and priorities and allowing those to guide the way we relate to the people we encounter in our lives.


  • There's nothing wrong with enjoying a compliment.  We are social creatures who enjoy being accepted and liked by other people.  
  • But feeling dependent on compliments for a sense of your worth is a recipe for unhappiness. If you look for evidence of your value in the wrong place, you'll never get enough to be satisfied.
  • Compliments about your appearance are not the path to happiness.  And their absence does not mean you're unattractive or unlovable.  
  • When someone truly sees your essential nature, they will find you beautiful.  If they don't, that's not a failing on your part.  And you can rest assured that someone else will.  
  • You can help others see your beauty, not by changing the way your body looks, but by having the courage to give fuller outward expression to what lies within your soul.  Whether or not any individual will recognise your beauty in any given moment is not on you.
  • As you bring kindness to your experience of insecurity, you become more intimate with the beauty of your essential nature.  And the compulsive dependency on others for reassurance of your attractiveness through compliments will diminish.

And now it's over to you.  Tell me about your relationship with compliments.

  • How do you feel when you receive a compliment about your appearance?
  • How do you feel when you don't?
  • What do you think compliments signal about your value and attractiveness, if anything?
  • Do you think receiving compliments is necessary to be happy?
  • If not, what do you think is necessary to be happy?

Let me know in the comment box below.  I'd love to hear about your experience and perspective.

Reach out if you'd like support

If you’d like to know about how I went from being a compliment-junkie to feeling more secure in myself, so you can too, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.

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