The common sense of compliments
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog encouraging people, especially women, to stop apologizing for taking up space and time and attention.
Since I started reading “A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God’s Promises,” I’m becoming more aware of some of the small ways we ladies really put ourselves down. Today’s topic is compliments.
Here’s an example of an exchange I’ve had occasionally.
Co-worker: “Hey April, that’s a nice top.”
Me, glancing down: “Oh, thank you. It’s old.”
Co-worker: “Well, it looks nice on you.”
I do this type of thing all the time. Instead of graciously accepting a compliment, I come up with a reason why the person giving it shouldn’t. It’s quite stupid, actually.
I did it again this morning. My Spinning instructor approached me after class and said, “I just have to tell you that you’re looking really great. I can tell you’ve lost weight.”
My reply was dismal. “Really? I haven’t lost as much as I would like.”
The poor woman. She made a point to build me up, and rather than answering with a simple “Thank you,” I gave the worst response ever.
God bless her. She tried again. “You’ve been doing really well in class.”
That was when I realized I had totally ruined the moment, so I replied appropriately and uttered, “Thank you.” After I left the gym, I thought about all the things I should’ve said. Like how her compliment really meant a lot to me. Like how the fact that she noticed changes in my body and in my performance gave me a confidence boost. Heck, I probably should’ve hugged her. This lady is a fitness guru. Those words coming from her were really meaningful.
Those scenarios when I put down someone’s compliments say a lot about my self-esteem.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do you do it? Why do we do it?
I’ve been on the receiving end of this type of exchange, too. If the person I’m complimenting is someone I know well and she tries to give me a reason to take it back, I will often say something like, “Don’t do that. Don’t put yourself down. Accept my compliment and just say, ‘Thank you.’”
We are all busy people, so if someone is taking the time to offer a compliment, she means it. Accept it. Don’t shoot it down. Let’s see ourselves the way others do.
Even better, what if we all saw ourselves the way God sees us? After all, he created mankind – male and female – in his own image (Genesis 1:27). Every time we put ourselves down, I suppose we are essentially saying to God, “You didn’t get it quite right.”
As this video shows, we are more beautiful than we think.
Originally published on ovparent.com.