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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.