Recently I got in a conversation with a super good friend of mine in which I was alerted to something that is likely one of the most difficult aspects of the project for many participants. I need to share it with you.
She was saying that every time she receives what feels like a “genuine” compliment, she cries.
On this note, pretty much whenever she receives a compliment, she rarely feels like they are genuine.
Two problems, right?
1) She finds it so absurd that anyone would compliment her that she doesn’t actually see the majority of compliments she receives as genuine. In her opinion, there are only certain people who could POSSIBLY be trusted enough to be genuinely complimenting her. The others must have some ulterior motive or are “just being nice.”
2) Someone saying something sincerely nice about her is so shocking to her that it stirs up that much emotion.
Honestly, what is wrong with us??? Because I know she’s not alone.
Granted, I hadn’t really thought about that aspect of this project as being so difficult, but, when I really started to think about it, it’s HUGE. It is a giant trepidation for most ladies on these evenings to sit and hear the honestly beautiful things that people think about them.
Sure, it’s super intimidating and nerve-wracking to put one of your deepest insecurities into the wide open for the world to read and criticize if they so desire.
But, it seems equally as intimidating to be open to the awesomeness that people see in us…if not more so, frankly.
That part of the project usually actually brings the most tears.
Why do we have such a hard time with this?
It seems that, as is the base of this project, we just struggle with such mixed messages about ourselves. We dwell so deeply on things that we dislike about ourselves that we are shocked and maybe even embarrassed when someone praises us on even the smallest thing. Not to mention the fact that we don’t want to come across as ‘trying too hard’ or being arrogant. Just as we seem to live in a society of women who, unfortunately, find it normal behavior to tear each other down, we also live in a society in which it’s not quite acceptable for women to acknowledge their awesomeness. The rare woman that does is then perceived as narcissistic…and, guess what…we judge them for this behavior as well.
IT. IS. GROSS.
I feel like I say this all the time, but, I’ll say it again: IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE.
Next time someone compliments you on something, say “Thank you!”
Just “thank you”.
Quell that desire to deflect. To reject that praise. To feel the need to return that compliment with a compliment.
Also, compliment others. You see something that strikes you about someone? TELL THEM. Don’t be creepy about it. But, tell them. How often do we see a woman across the room with beautiful hair/smile/boots/etc. and, instead of complimenting them, we just kind of stare for a minute…?
Now, how many times have you caught someone staring at you and the first thing you thought was that THEY were thinking to themselves about how large your ass is/how you’re having a bad hair day/how you totally shouldn’t have worn that skirt…blah blah blahhhhhhhhhhh…?
Yeah, they couldn’t possibly be staring at you because you’re awesome. They MUST see something negative.
Compliment someone. Today. There will be a genuine reason for you to do so, I’m sure of it.
(On a side note, this discussion also came up recently at the reunion night we had for our first project group. One of the ladies talked about how the project has affected her life in this respect in the most positive way. I can’t wait to share those clips with you. Soon enough, I promise.
Also, watch this. We watched it on our reunion night, due to this conversation. It’s sorta spot on. And hilarious.)
p.s. If this is your first time here and you have no clue as to what “project” I’m talking about, go here for the very first one…https://alanatphotography.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/women-raw-honest-loved-part-1-2/