“You’re looking great!” a friend of mine told me this week. “Seriously?” I reply. “Have you seen these dark circles? And look at this belly!” I say, grabbing a handful of flesh from my mid section. In my head, I’m asking myself if she’s actually seeing the same person that I do when I look in the mirror. I mean, I feel pretty haggered most of the time. I look pretty haggered most of the time. Can she not see that too?
While I can assure you that my blog this week is by no means a way of fishing for compliments, it has been spurred on by my realisation at just how bad we are at accepting them. I know I’m hugely guilty of this! It has made me wonder, at what point in our lives do we adopt the ability to turn down compliments? And at what point in our lives, will we actually readily accept and believe in the ones we are given? Will our self-confidence forever be held ransom to a number on a scale, an inch or two less on the thighs or a better night’s sleep?
Hmmm. It’s a tough one. Let’s face it, we’re all guilty!
Another case in point: I caught up with a pregnant friend of mine over coffee. (You know who you are). She looks amazing. Gorgeous, neat baby bump. If I hadn’t recently given birth with no desire to do it again in the very near future, it’s the sort of bump that would make me broody! Yes, she looks fabulous, but she doesn’t believe it. The compliments I give her are turned down and replaced with concern over the fact that feels that she has ballooned all over. I clearly don’t see the same thing she sees when she looks in her mirror.
Yes, why is it that we are so hard on ourselves?
Sometimes, I look at my daughter Molly and wonder what message I am sending – a message that I don’t always like myself very much! While I half-heartedly pull something out of my tired old wardrobe, she is always so quick to compliment: “Oh Mummy, what a pretty dress! You look beautiful!” In turn, I tell her every day that she looks wonderful. What would happen if that conversation suddenly went a little more like this:
“Molly, that’s a gorgeous dress! You look like a princess!”
“Geez, Mummy, are you kidding me? This old sack?!”
Yes, some day, those compliments will probably be rejected! Some day, she might not believe just how beautiful she is. While I know this is all part and parcel of growing up, it kind of makes me feel a little sad. So, this week, I’ve been keeping a mental note on the compliment front. While I’ve received a few nice ones and given a few in return, I’ve noticed the old brain’s tendency to veer towards a negative response nearly every time.
I mean, seriously. We are just not very good at this acceptance lark, are we?!
So here’s our homework for this week…
Friend: “My, you are looking fabulous today.”
You: “Why…thank you!”
There. That wasn’t so difficult was it? Now, go forth – and believe it!
“Always act like you are wearing an invisible crown.”