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.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?