“You are so stunning and kind-hearted. You are brilliant and talented and successful. You think deeply about the people in your life and anyone would be so lucky to date you!”

Hearing this compliment, my friend smiled…at first.

But the longer the compliment thread went on, her smile got more rigid and some fear grew in her eyes. I could tell she had stopped receiving and was now frozen.

Compliments are like ice cream. A small bite or two are delicious, but a huge mouthful can cause brain freeze—that pain in your head when you’ve eaten too much of something cold too quickly.

With brain freeze, your body senses sudden, extreme cold in the mouth or throat, so it tries to react and warm up. Blood vessels throughout the head expand to let extra blood into the area for warmth. That quick change in blood vessel size causes sudden pain.

I believe we have a similar reflex in our heart (metaphorically) when we receive a large portion of praise. I’m calling it “heart freeze.”


gif of a cartoon bear dressed in a winter coat and freezing into an ice cube with the text "too many compliments" over his head and the title Heart Freeze at the bottom


When the good things coming in feel too excessive and we don’t know how to take it in, we are literally stunned and have a reflex to shut down and stop receiving. Our smile gets frozen. We get like a deer in headlights. It’s uncomfortable, and sadly, also disconnecting.

This is such a pity, to disconnect right at the moment when a big dose of love is coming in. Because if you’re being honest with yourself, you aren’t getting as much love and praise as you’d like, are you?

Most of us are starving to be seen. We need to practice receiving in a bigger way, rather than freezing in the face of a big helping of recognition.

Is it possible to actually take in all that praise at once without freezing up?


gif titled "How to receive a compliment without freezing" listing the four points from the email


Here are four steps you can try the next time someone compliments you:


1. Take a big deep breath.
I know you hear this a lot from me, but we tend to stop breathing when something feels hard. The lack of breath makes everything actually harder. Breathing deeper signals to your nervous system that you are not in danger.

2. Think about receiving the flow of words and energy into your hands.
Usually when someone is focusing on us to give a compliment, they are looking us in the eyes and it can feel intense. We are receiving the energy of what they say in our upper head and torso. You can redirect that flow by visualizing it away from your heart and face and moving into your hands where you can better “handle” it.

3. Remember that compliments are about the giver.
What this person is saying is meant as a gift to you. You don’t have to agree with it or validate what they say, anymore than you have to 100% love and use a gift you are given.

4. Say “Thank you.”
Take the pressure off yourself about needing to understand and agree with whatever they have said. You can process later on your own time. For now, just acknowledge the gift of the compliments with those two simple words.


Are you ready to practice this?

Get ready……



Want to get these articles in your inbox? Subscribe to my email list here.

No products in the cart.