Learning to take a compliment.

by , under personal, Pirate

I admit, I’m terrible about taking compliments. I think at our core, we’re all still who we were in high school.

And in high school I felt invisible. I was afraid to make a move on anyone I was interested in (after I tried once my freshman year, and he told me he thought of me like a kid sister – he was as kind as you can be in that situation), and watched them date girls who didn’t look as young as I did. Who had breasts. Who were tall. Who were white.

I wore a mask of confidence. Armor, technically. I cut my hair, wore clothes that were a little more fashion forward than you’d expect in the 90s and sort of did what I could to keep people at arm’s length.

I was only confident about my singing and acting.

I still feel a little weird when people compliment me in real life. On the internet, I can dismiss it and say that oh, I did look cute in that picture – but it’s because they can’t see how awkward and weird I am. In a snapshot, of course I look adorable.

But that isn’t healthy, and it isn’t accurate. My therapist called me out on it when we were discussing things and I kept trying to say that it wasn’t like I’m that attractive. At some point in time he stopped me. And asked if I really felt that way.

Black Widow, out!

Pretty cute, double-jointed fingers and all!

I said that I look in the mirror and see an attractive woman. I look at pictures I take and think I look nice. But a big part of it is that I question what others think because of high school. And because most people who tell me I’m pretty do so with an agenda.

So I’ve been working on trusting that not everyone who says I look good is out to wreck my life.

Today at the grocery store, I was talking with an employee that I see pretty regularly. She’s a motherly type. She’d never seen the Kidlets before, and she thought they were adorable- and so polite! She told them she thought they were cute, then glanced at me. “But not as cute as your mother.”

And I froze. Part of me wanted to shrug it off. But I knew my therapist would be annoyed and I wanted something good to tell him since I’d had to reschedule today’s appointment. So I thanked her, and told her I hoped she had a good, pain-free day (her arm was in a sling).

She didn’t think I was full of myself. She just smiled back and said she’d see me later in the week.

Pretty sure that the next time someone tells me out of the blue that they like my creative writing, I’m still going to wonder if they’re crazy. But, baby steps.

Tell me, do you find it hard to take a compliment?

  • Eli

    I never hear compliments so I’m kind of envious of you 🙂

  • B.

    It find it VERY hard to accept them. I never know what to say or how to react after one!

  • Tigger

    Always. I’m terrible at that. Why? Because I think we are trained to tell people they look cute or awesome or whatnot. Husband points out to me that while yes, that might be a bit true, no one is forcing anyone to compliment anyone else. it’s just as easy to say nothing. You are adorable – no one tells me that I have to tell you that, but I do because I think you are. No one has to tell my son that he’s cute (or that he looks like his daddy – to which husband always replies “poor kid”, so he’s not immune to it either) but they do. I suffer from the “I don’t look like I did as a teen – I’m about twice that weight” syndrome, which makes it even harder.

    So the lady in the store – she could have just told the kids they were cute and said nothing to you, and you’d have thought nothing of it. You wouldn’t have thought she was rude – she was talking to the kids after all. 🙂 But she took a moment to point out that she thought you were cute as well (!!), and that’s saying something. It’s hard not to be critical of ourselves, I know.

  • I’ve been very lucky to have supportive family who nurtured my gifts. But I heard a lot of detractors over the years (my voice was too mature and didn’t match my face)

    I think you’re very talented. I love your brain, seriously.

  • It was easy when you were a kid and could just smile. Now I feel so off kilter.

  • <3 Thanks. I definitely took it to be genuine, since there was no reason.

    But mostly I've learned that people say those things when they want something, so I usually find myself waiting for it.

  • Love what you said about having an agenda. I feel that too or I feel like I must have been trying so hard at something and am getting a compliment because it seems like I’m asking for it. Oh emotions 😛