Tag Archives: compliments

Oh, Go On…

I read this article this weekend on Today’s Health called “Why Women Are Terrible At Accepting Compliments.”  It was a great article.  They also embedded a video from Comedy Central’s Amy Schumer where she pokes fun at this phenomenon.  This video is quite over the top, but I think it illustrates the ridiculousness of deflecting compliments.

A few months ago, I posted how my friends called me out when I did just that, deflected a compliment I received.  After having been morbidly obese for about a million years, (OK 25 or so, but who’s counting), I have really been struggling with the fact that I am no longer invisible.  Also, being morbidly obese means you do not like to hear about how you look.  You know you look awful and generally if someone is complimenting you appearance, you believe it is a lie.  Or you believe they are talking about how fat you are behind your back, which let’s face it, they probably are.

People are commenting on how I look to my face now pretty much all of the time these days.  And it is taking me sometime to handle hearing good comments on my appearance.  I especially have difficulty handling it when men compliment my appearance.  Gay, straight, young, old, married, single doesn’t matter.  I get flustered and I blush.

It’s easier to deflect than to simply say, “Thank you.”  Saying “thank you” means that I have to openly admit to being attractive, or at least more attractive than I was before, and that’s something I have never been comfortable with.  It appears that I am not alone:

“When someone tells me something good about myself, I always have a reason why they’re wrong,” she says. “I think we all feel ‘less than’. Less than what we should have been. Less than what we thought we were going to be. Or we listened to people who said we were less than. This is a big issue with women.”

Renee Engeln, a psychology professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., says it has to do with the mixed messages women receive about what behaviors are desirable or acceptable.

“[We’re told] love yourself, but not too much. Be confident, but practice a style of humility this culture never requires of men. Believe in yourself, but never admit it out loud, lest you make another woman who doesn’t feel good about herself feel bad,” she says. “If you’re raised to think it’s arrogant to ever say something positive about yourself, it makes it hard to accept a compliment.

I’d say there’s a lot of truth in that.  I was always told that I was fat and unattractive.  To hear that insult constantly and then to suddenly hear how good I look is frankly, difficult to believe.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it is easier to believe that bad stuff.  I don’t know why that is, but it is.

I’m getting better at it.  Having my appearance change and look better pretty much monthly helped.  My friends making me sit through compliment therapy where they complimented me and I was not allowed to say anything but “thank you” helped as well.  But learning to, if not always believe, at least embrace the good things in my life helps the most.

Now when people tell me how great I look, despite my constant blushing or my stomach my exploding into a million butterflies like teenager on her first date, I just smile and say “Thanks!”

I think if I do that enough, maybe one day I’ll actually believe it.

Advertisements

Shenanigans

A couple of my friends called shenanigans on me last night.  I wrote the other day about feeling uncomfortable with some of the new attention I have been receiving, especially increased attention from men whether it is compliments, touching, hugging, or being ogled by random men while on a business trip.

Well, last night after my writer’s group several people complimented me on my weight loss.  I usually handle that well.  Then a guy friend of mine, we’ll call him Bobby, came up to me and complimented the t-shirt I was wearing and said, “You look really good in green, you should wear it more often.”  A really nice, neutral, fairly innocuous compliment.  My response?

“Oh my hair is just a mess today!  I look awful!”

When I said that, another friend, we’ll call her Joanna, jumped in and said, “Oh no, no, no, no, no!  That is no way to respond to a compliment!  How would you feel if I came up to you and said, ‘I don’t want you to get all bitchy on me Colleen, but you look really good in green.’  Rude huh?  That’s basically what you just did to him!”

I turned back to my friend and sheepishly said, “Thank you, Bobby.”

Then a bunch of them spent the rest of the night complimenting me and then applauding when I said “thank you” instead of deflecting the compliment with a self-deprecating comment.  One guy even told me I am simply going to have to get used to it because I am apparently a “looker.”

What can I say to that other than I know, right? 🙂

Anyway, this picture of me was taken last week at my training class in Texas, so it is fairly recent.

texas