Have you ever thought about how a compliment often elicits one of two responses: either a “thank you” or a self-deprecating, “you're too kind”? I started thinking about why our response is often more self-deprecating than accepting, and I can only speak for myself, but I think for me, it's for two reasons: I don't feel worthy of such praise when lots of people do wonderful things and, the more interesting reason, because it raises the bar for personal expectations.
I want to live up to and be worthy of that praise. It's one thing for family to praise you – they accept the good with the bad and love you regardless – but when friends and acquaintances give praise, it's like these people who have no obligation to love you, see something special and redeemable, which is both awesome and intimidating.
When someone proclaims or labels you as such, there suddenly becomes a pressure to stay elevated to that level – worthy, if you will? It's funny how our own psychology and insecurities will do this to us, instead of simply thanking someone for the praise and truly believing it's warranted.
Do you think it's a female trait to play down our positive qualities and achievements, so as not to be perceived as arrogant, or do you feel as I do, that it inadvertently increases the expectation of performance? I would imagine it could be some of both. I’m sure this "performance anxiety" is fueled by my fear of failure. It's something I need to continually work on.