I have similar thoughts when someone gives me praise.
For me there were a few issues going on: how I see my ‘self’ and my brain not caring too much about praise – its always focused on solving puzzles ‘what is not working – how do I find a workaround?’
In regards to the brain bypassing praise, I would stop and say ‘thank you’ and acknowledge how someone perceived me. After practicing this for awhile I began to notice a pattern: how I was able to connect with others and I identified those traits as strengths. This is common practice for self reflection; it can go a lot deeper — break it down and see how each part plays out (in context to a given situation) becoming aware of one’s self and honoring others, leads to something more than you might expect. I still struggle with the praise but after doing the work to figure it out, I accept that my brain will rush to solve the issue and it is not a reflection of how I see myself. Meaning I dont read more into it than what it is. (Anxiety is freed with an objective answer)
I suggest the next time this comes up, stop, take a moment to thank the person, notice how you feel and go from there: ask yourself questions, why do i feel this way? (This helped me work through my perception of self)
Why do you think you don’t deserve the praise (why do you need to remember a past moment and let it take away from something good in the present – self punishment?), in a given moment, if you had a positive affect on someone? Being cruel to someone in one instance doesn’t stamp out your ability to be kind – our lives and relationships are fluid. How we turnaround (make amends) an act of cruelty means more than the act itself. Once the cruelty has stopped, the amending experience is what remains: the affect this has on the people involved takes its own course and must be respected (we are not responsible for other peoples feelings; ‘take care of your side of the street’)
The question about ‘who one is’ distressed me for many years (how does one describe infinite possibility in a few words?) then I came up with a way to answer that question. I would recall the last 48 hours – who did I connect with? How did these people respond to me? what is something I did for myself? – The information from these questions shaped my answer; short and simple.
The best way I could sum up this ‘who am i’ question is with a story about a man who wanted my attention (with the history of pick-up lines festering the situation and the need to break a barrier of familiarity). He approaches me in a wildly lit environment, both of us entranced by the show and in my ear he tells me, ‘everyone lies’ – the clarity and brevity of his tell caught my attention; it was everything and nothing, brilliant – i was engaged.