Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Taking a Compliment

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I've been working on trying to break a bad habit of mine.

I have trouble accepting compliments. Considering when I was a child I was the most loved and praised little brat in the greater Salt Lake City area, my issues with compliments didn't come from my childhood. In fact I fed on the spotlight, praise and applause.

As I aged and my body began to change into that of a curvaceous knock out, I was teased about being fat and suddenly my very open self that was used to accepting praise was struck hard and deep and I decided to build a wall to protect myself from further wounding. The wall was created using sarcasm, humor, self doubt and awkwardness.


While I'll always be awkward (as that part of me existed long before my self esteem crisis began), I often still have trouble letting go of the self doubt and sarcasm, especially when people give me genuine compliments. When my girlfriends tell me how awesome I look in that very special way that only girlfriends can, I'm able to strike and pose. However, when words of kindness come from others - be they stranger or spouse, my initial instinct is to roll my eyes or prove them wrong.

Between last years Traveling Dress Project and last weeks Bikini Debut, I've been overwhelmed by the love and support of an amazing community. Is it enough to wash away the many years of bullying and fat shaming? It should be! I want it to be. Maybe one day it will. But in the meantime, I'm working on handling your sweet words of love an appreciation by doing the following things:

  1. Sucking it up and staying quiet - Best way to not react sarcastically is to not react at all. It's hard, and I sometimes feel ungrateful, but if the urge to be an ass strikes me, I have to shut it down.
  2. Seeing myself as I see the you - You people are gorgeous and sometimes I can't imagine you ever doubting yourself, and then my brain goes, "Duh doy," and a light bulb appears overhead.
  3. Saying thank you. - It's hard because I feel sometimes like saying thank you is agreeing with whatever praise-filled statement earned the gratitude, and that's the problem isn't it? That sometimes I don't agree because I don't get it (see #2) or I'm tempted to react poorly (see #1). But I'm working on it.
So thank you.

8 comments:

Katherine Coons said...

I am struggling with this too. Compliments tend to make me feel....uncomfortable? I guess? I also have to work on not cracking the fat jokes on myself. So ridiculous and frustrating. I'll have someone say "you look really nice!" and I will say "nah....I look (insert fat crack here)". And they never laugh lol...but I still feel the need to make myself the punchline.

Untypically Jia said...

I think the biggest problem is arguing against the compliment, you know? Like maybe if we still have the NEED to try and be funny, we should I dunno . . . have a humorous ego about it. When people say we look nice, let's reply with, "Thanks. I'm a sexy bitch!" And maybe, just maybe, we'll be genuine with it one day. :)

Katherine Coons said...

haha, I'll give that a try!

Andrea said...

Ugh. The "duh doy" moment is one that I specialize in, as is the one where someone says "you look so nice" and I sabotage it by making the ugliest face I can think of. And when I say "Thank you" after a compliment, you're right - I feel smug and stuck-up.


Why can't I just be normal? ARRRRGGHHH!!! :)

Kristen said...

I struggle with this too. I don't know why it's so hard to say a simple thank you. Instead I'll try to find something equally nice to compliment them about, and it can come across as sounding fake. If you find a good solution to this, let me know.

Amelia_J said...

When I was a teenager I was reading one of those obnoxious teen magazines and there was a poll of boys talking about their pet peeves about girls. One of them said 'They never accept a compliment. Don't argue with me, just say thank you.' It was a turning point for me. If you're my best friend, I'll argue, it's our way. But everyone else I try my best to say thank you and let it be.

The Lovely One said...

I also have serious issues with this. My girlfriend commented the other day that I have a hard time accepting a compliment and I never say thank you, which is really just rude on my part. So, I'm working on accepting compliments and saying thank you!

Karen Peterson said...

I have always struggled with accepting compliments. But it's something I'm getting better about. I have realized I don't have to *believe* it as long as I accept it graciously.

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