“You look wonderful today.”
The phrase seems simple enough, but it is a gateway phrase to a big internal problem. Many women today do not know how to accept a compliment. What is it about someone’s kindness that turns us into confused, blubbering fools?
Is it because we didn’t receive enough complements growing up?
Is it because high school didn’t teach self esteem 101 or is it because society spends so much time pointing out everything that is wrong about us that we have a hard time accepting what is right?
Last week, during my lunch break, I looked across the table at my coworker and said that I liked her shirt. Simple enough nicety right?
She spent the next 15 minutes telling me all the things she didn’t like about it. It hugged her curves, she thought she looked fat, she was afraid it would wrinkle, she thought the color was too loud and she wasn’t sure if buying it was a mistake.
Instead of saying thank you and being happy about the comment, by the time she had finished her tirade, I am convinced I made her feel worse.
Why couldn’t she just say thank you?
Later on that week, my boyfriend had told me that he liked how I did my eye make up that day and that it looked really pretty. I mumbled uncomfortably for a minute then instantly went into everything else that was wrong with how I looked that day. He stopped me midsentence and asked if it’s even worth it for him to say nice things to or about me because I can’t just take the compliment.
It never occurred to me that I was doing to him what my coworker did to me.
I remember how annoyed I was with her inability to see the beauty in herself yet I was doing the same thing. Apparently, I am guilty of deflecting most complements that come my way and I didn’t even know it. Is it because of my inability to see the good within myself?
I, like many women, have struggled with self-esteem and body-image issues most of my adult life. I have put so much stock and value in everyone else’s negative opinions that I simply forgot how to believe or listen to the positive ones. It seems this is a recurring theme among my circle of friends. The world spends so much time tearing everyone down that no one really remembers how to be built up again.
We cannot accept a compliment.
You are all beautiful.
You are smart, sassy, wonderful and strong.
If you look at yourself in the mirror, I am confident that you can find something about yourself that you could compliment.
Say it out loud and believe it. Maybe if we start accepting our own compliments it will make it easier to believe the ones other people say to us too. Stop deflecting and pointing out what you don’t like, instead, focus on the good.
When someone says something nice to you, just say thank you. Remember, if you didn’t have something worth mentioning, they wouldn’t mention it. Believe it and be the remarkable creature you were put on this planet to be.
Accept the compliment, drink the wine and live the life. You deserve to know how amazing you are.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live and WBRE.