The “C” Word

Me: You look really nice in that shirt.
Friend: You need to have your eyes examined.
Me: No, you need to learn to take a compliment

Friend: You’re beautiful.
Me: (rolls eyes)
Friend: What’s that you said the other day about learning to take a compliment?

I’ve written before about compliments, about how many times in a day, a week, a month that I hear – or rather DON’T hear – the nice things people say or appreciate the nice things people do for me without feeling unworthy of their kindness. It’s a goal of mine to stop with the rebuttals and eyerolls, but accepting a compliment is about as easy as a root canal, so I’m still working on it.

What is it about compliments that make us so uneasy? Part of me wonders if it’s because a compliment reflects someone else’s view of us, a view we most likely don’t share. That puts us in direct contradiction with ourselves. For me, whenever my point of view is challenged, my inclination is to think “I’m always right”, so if someone pays me a compliment for something I am unaware of, then THEY must be wrong.

Abandoning this need to control how other people view me, think of me, expect me to be is difficult and something I’ve been unwilling to (although I know I need to) let go of.

So I ask you, have you conquered the “c” word? Are you open to compliments? Receptive and grateful? Or do you feel and recite your flaws and take yourself down a notch when you hear a compliment because to do otherwise would be “unnatural”?

I’ll meet my friend halfway. Regarding beautiful, here are a few photos that reflect what I believe is beautiful: love. I know it radiates in my face, and so that’s the part of the compliment I can accept. Baby steps.

8 thoughts on “The “C” Word

  1. I agree, you're beautiful.

    I have finally gotten absolutely at ease with compliments, because I absolutely believe them! It came from the inside out, working day after day at looking in the mirror and finding things I loved about myself. And part of it was me saying to myself that if I put myself down, I am putting down my children, because they are part of me. So I embrace the compliments now. They are easy for me to believe 🙂

    Believe in you, Lynn! You're amazing!

  2. The flip-side of this issue is that we tend to believe the NEGATIVE things that folks say/believe about us! How dysfunctional!

    I have a friend — one of the kindest and selfless people I've ever known — who tries to swat away any attempts of people to be nice to him (a compliment, a favor, a gift, whatever). I told him that to refuse an expression of love or a kind gesture from someone else is a way of telling the person that only HE can give to THEM, and not the other way around, so it's controlling behavior, and is a sign of false humility. It's also an insult to indicate to the other person that their opinion or kindness is somehow untrue or not worthy of his gracious acceptance, and this ultimately dishonors the relationship. I've told my friend that while he's adjusting his radar, he needs to simply accept the word/deed/gift and just say thank you.

    I know that's all very hard-core and I'll be the first to admit that I struggle with just this issue! I still find myself making excuses for doing/being whatever the compliment is about, and it's a reflection of my low self-esteem and self-absorbed mindset, and it makes the other person uncomfortable, which is the opposite of my intent.

    — CK

  3. To Lyn and CK, thank you for reminding me that when we tell someone who compliments us that they are wrong, we are insulting them AND our children/significant others…what have you. I AM accountable to more people than just myself. Thank you!

    BbubblyB…thank you 🙂 And I mean that. Because, you know, I'm learning to take compliments.

  4. I think particularly with overweight people, we have such negative feelings towards ourselves that we cannot accept kind words as actual truths. I also think that a compliment draws attention to you, and I know when I was fat, the last thing I wanted was any attention drawn to me. That is a very hard habit to break.

    I am much better at now just saying thank you.

  5. Sometimes people can't believe the good because they've been beat down too many times by bad. That poem about children living what they learn is right on. If you've been told you're fat and ugly your whole life, well, eventually you believe that. (I'm not saying this is why you struggle, I'm just saying it's why a lot of folks do.)

    I once read that it takes 7 positives to overcome 1 negative. So I hope you are told at least 7 times a day just how beautiful you are!

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