I’m always super uncomfortable giving compliments on people’s appearances. Mostly because of my own inner voice. If someone says I look like I’ve lost weight, I say thanks, but the voice in my head is wondering, “So, she thought you looked fat last time she saw me?” or “I feel like a fraud because I had typhoid and threw up and shat away 14 pounds while burning tons of calories writhing on the bed with fever and excruciating pain.” This actually happened while I was living in Guatemala.
I have a hard time accepting praise about my writing because on my best days I suffer from imposter syndrome. Who am I to call myself a writer just because I’ve been at it since I was 7? I rebuff compliments with rubbish like, “I’m just blogging to build an online platform in case I ever write a real book.”
I find it just as hard to give an off the cuff compliment. The words stick. I worry that my intentions will be questioned, or I’ll be misunderstood somehow. Will I sound like a sycophant?
The other day, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in months, and she looked thinner, younger, even sparkly. I started to say something but didn’t. I started to send a text, but didn’t. In the end I sent a wordy email complimenting her, but ending with a clause stating, “without any implication that you looked any less amazing before”. WTF is wrong with me? LOL
When I relayed this story to another friend she laughed and told me I Woody Allened it. I guess I am that neurotic!
My goal is to not only accept compliments with grace, but to accept them without filtering them through my own bullshit, and to be able to give compliments without over-thinking it.
Here’s a hilarious video on compliments.