(a re-print inspired by all these responses. Also, please, can no one ever again utter a variant of the phrase “Wow, for an [inherent characteristic] you are certainly [adjective]!” That is never, ever going to go well.)
The simplest example of this is not telling a tall person that they’re tall.
So much of our lives are shaped by weird rolls of the genetic dice, or fate, or God, or however you choose to interpret that particular mystery. Whether someone is short or tall or originally from Canada or gay or Asian or born to rich parents or redheaded or whatever — that’s not something they chose or cultivated in themselves, and it’s not something they work for.
What makes someone good and valuable is not these traits. It’s the choices they make and the things they do. I’d always rather someone tell me I’m a good writer than that my red hair is pretty, because one of those things is something I work my ass off at, and another is some protein encoding. Both are sweet things to say; one means a lot more to me.
It’s not that you can’t be proud of/pleased by these intrinsic things, but don’t forget that the things you (and others) deserve credit for are the things you have control over.