Compliments – some of them are lovely, some of them are a little back-handed – and I used to struggle to accept them…still do at times I guess.
Why is this…why is is so hard to graciously accept a compliment? Why do we try and brush them off, laughing as we do this? Why is it so hard to hear someone else saying something nice to us, or about us?
I think it has a huge amount to do with how we view ourselves…our self-esteem, and our self-worth. I used to feel uncomfortable if someone said something nice about me, as I struggled to find anything that I liked about myself at one point in time. If your own view of anything is challenged, you tend to feel uncomfortable and become defensive – maybe I am projecting here! – the same can be said for compliments if they contradict your view of yourself.
According to some bits and pieces that I have read over the past couple of years, it seems that we often seek out people like ourselves – people that we feel comfortable with…who don’t challenge us too much…enablers. So if you are overweight and can’t dig yourself out of that hole, then you feel really comfortable with others in the same situation…whereas spending time with someone who is achieving what you aren’t tends not to be as inspirational as you might think…it can piss you off in fact and return you to your negative eating patterns. The same works in reverse…if you are achieving and those around you aren’t, it can be hard to relate and you seek out new people to surround yourself with. We also try and find people who validate how we feel…regardless of these feelings being positive or negative. If we are praised when we don’t feel good about ourselves this makes us feel uncomfortable as it contradicts our perception of our very being…so we ‘like’ people who enable us rather than challenge us.
I have spoken a fair bit about authenticity before. This links to compliments…if you don’t believe that you are worthy, then a compliment about how fabulous you have been can feel inauthentic as it does not sit comfortably with you. The same goes for a compliment about your intelligence if you don’t feel that you are smart…or a compliment about how beautiful you are when you feel anything but beautiful. And I guess the same can be said when thinking about your future – take my weight loss…I never believed that I could do it, and when people told me that I was capable of shifting my weight…well, I just didn’t believe them…I believed the people who told me that I couldn’t do it without surgery.
Now, I don’t want to make tonight’s blog too lengthy…as I am sleepy and cold and want to hop in bed and a read a book. Also, because the reasons that we struggle to accept compliments vary from person to person. It could be that they need to work on self-esteem, or confidence, or self-worth, or quite simply just to be gracious! There is a little link that might help…as I have said before, sometimes the ‘why’ is less important than just learning to ‘do’.
Paying compliments feels good…but having one brushed off doesn’t. However, I like to pay compliments. If I suspect that someone doesn’t feel good about their body, then I compliment their hair or an item of clothing – I won’t say, ‘Don’t you look gorgeous in that dress!’, instead I will say, ‘What a gorgeous dress, the colour is amazing!’…which takes the focus off the person, making it easier for them to accept the compliment…and when you get used to accepting some compliments, it gets easier to accept others. If that makes any sense at all?! I try and make the compliment easy to accept…so that they don’t feel the need to brush it off, which makes me more likely to keep paying compliments and them more likely to keep accepting them. I enjoy it – I like making people feel good…it’s part of who I am…it’s authentic!
I guess the topic of compliments is linked to a few things that have happened this week…
Firstly, the award for ‘Best Back-Handed Compliment’ goes to Mr WLB this week. He was looking at my ‘before’ photos and said, ‘Your nose looks bigger now that your face has got thinner.’ Bless him…I did coach him for a minute or two after that!
Then there were two separate instances at the gym of people chatting to me about my weight and progress. One chap – who is quite loud and likes to be noticed – was telling at me about how proud I should be of myself. This was before he found out how much I had lost…the cynical part of me thinks that he was trying to impress the receptionist that I was chatting to – trying to show that he was supportive of the fat girl. His face when I told him that I’d lost nearly 20st was a picture. But he then collared me later in the week – he was a smidge quieter – and was chatting about his weight loss and gym routine and health issues, and telling me how amazing my progress was. So I will give him the benefit of the doubt!
Then a lovely chap asked me how I was finding it all. He said he’d seen me in there for a while now and was wondering if I was still enjoying it. We got chatting – he had joined for health reasons and has lost 3st – and he again said how fabulous my progress was.
And today has been full of compliments! My Pilates instructor made me laugh…she couldn’t believe how supple I was during a particular move and stood watching me for a few moments in disbelief I think! Some of the moves are quite tough for me due to the bulk in various parts of my body…but other moves…well, I can get into some shapes and bust some moves that you wouldn’t imagine that a 23st+ person could. Back in the day, these shapes were assisted by Mexico’s finest tequila!
Mr WLBs Mum has come to visit for the weekend, and when she got into the car at the station she was saying how great I looked. We then drove over to meet her uncle, and Mr WLBs twin brother, for lunch. When her uncle walked in – whom I have met a few times now – he did a major double-take and said how well I was looking. Apparently when Mr WLBs brother drove him home, he told him that he almost didn’t recognise me…bless him – he is such an old-school gentleman, 84 years old, and he hadn’t wanted to make a fuss incase I took offence. Offence?! I have worked bloody hard…I would never take offence at a compliment!
Now, as I read some of this back I get slightly uncomfortable. It doesn’t sit well to write about how great other people think that I am doing. I often wonder if it’s a cultural thing – my American friends would have posted every single compliment on Twitter and Facebook individually I think – or is it just because I still find it hard to believe that I am doing a good job? I always had confidence in my abilities in some ways…I liked my personality, I liked the fact that I was educated, I liked the fact that I was good at my job (according to some…not my old horrid boss!)…but I guess I never liked the fact that I just couldn’t crack this weight loss…I felt like a weak-willed plonker who couldn’t get through a day without binging. As I grow to love myself, accepting compliments gets easier.
I always say that you have to blow your own trumpet as nobody else will…but now that people are, I am getting to grips with this!
That’s it from me today. I am off to sneak into bed whilst Mr WLB and his Mum are at the theatre. I have a good book to read and have been well-fed today…I am content! It’s been a good day – a great Pilates session, with two trips to the horses, a visit to Asda, and a bit of grief from Freddie Freelander who decided to play electronic games with me…no indicators driving through a busy city was fun. I did pull out my hand movements to indicate, but no bugger seems to understand them anymore…and I got beeped at lots, which gave me road rage…which is not good when the future MIL is in the car…the only rude word that I uttered was ‘dick’…I think! Although given that she reads my blog every now and again, she has experience worse from me in a way I guess! I changed the indicator fuse, but still had no joy…and the AA man that I called told me that it had been a dirty relay – which just does not sound right in any sense…but I now have tickers and so am happy!
A great food day. A quick brekkie before Pilates was followed with a lovely meal at Harvester. I was assured that none of my food had oil or butter…they don’t butter the peas, or rub the potatoes in oil, or soak the meat in oil…so I enjoyed a tasty flame-grilled chicken breast with jacket potato, peas, and lots of salad. I then made a Thai chicken soup from the ‘Little Book of Soups’ – I added mushrooms, and couldn’t find bloody kaffir lime leaves in my local Asda, and replaced the coconut milk for syn free coconut yogurt…so it was tweaked slightly but tasted good! And my snacks were quick grab and go affairs from Nakd…the ‘Crunch’ bars with protein crunchy bits in them are rather tasty.
Exercise: 60 minutes Pilates.
Thank you for reading,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx