compliment—a polite expression of praise or admiration
how come i seems to struggle with that little act of kindness so much? in talking to the people around me, it’s easy to see that i’m not alone. as a matter of fact, i think that somewhere between 2 and 5 billion people, give or take a billion, on our little blue planet struggle with the same thing, at least occasionally.
i grew up in a family where compliments, at best, got sloughed off, at worst, ignored. when i left home, i learned to at least answer the compliment with a thank you and a slight nod of the head. when i feel anything other than at my best, i fall back into the old family patterns.
i also discovered while in depression, compliments act like water off a duck. I usually answered with a blank stare and an internal voice of, “wait, that was a compliment. do something more than stare.”
so, let’s head back to the original question; how come i seem to struggle with compliments? for me, i believe it’s tied to my struggle with self worth. a compliment means i did something right or well. it often comes with the added benefit that the person who offered up the compliment has values of me the rise above my own. the low self value kicks in. i reject that thought as wrong. from there, the next logical thought pops up; i reject the compliment.
i have also noticed that my reaction to compliments can be a leading indicator. recognizing that i am not graciously accepting compliments means that i am likely taking a turn for the worst. and after a period of ignoring compliments, turning towards graciously accepting compliments can indicate a turn for the better.
which leads me to last tuesday night. i shared at one of the support groups i attend my intentions to write a book. the compliments began to flow. “you’re a good writer; i bet it’ll be good.”, “i look forward to it.” each of the compliments gave me a tingly feeling. not only that, each compliment triggered things like, “wow, I think that cool. you know what? it’s hard to admit, i kinda believe that, too.”
i’ve got to say, after nearly two years of depression, it feels good to finally have some upward indicators. this is but one that i am experiencing. this time the changes don’t appear to be med induced as i haven’t changed any meds in over a month and a half. there is still work to be done, but finally there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.