Do you have trouble accepting a compliment? Do you say, “Thank you” as you blush and turn away? Or, do you toss your hair over your shoulder as you strut your stuff as if to say, “Tell me something I don’t know!”? OR … are you simply unable to accept a genuine compliment, and therefore, when you receive one, you respond with something like this exchange: “You’re so pretty!” “Aww, thank you, but I wish I could lose some weight” … or …”I wish my skin was clearer?” or any other response that would take away from the compliment that was given?
If you’re uncomfortable with compliments, ask yourself why this is. Do a little soul searching, if you must, to dig deep down to uncover what the root cause is exactly.
For me, I was told for too many years growing up that I had “buck teeth.” I was also picked on a great deal because I was the shortest person in the class. I was always petite, too, and thus, I was more prone to bullying due to my size.
Later in life, I was in a relationship with someone that abused me every chance they got. Abuse does not necessarily have to come in the form of physical abuse with strikes to your physical being for the strikes to you mentally and emotionally hurt some times greater and for an extended period of time. Unlike physical abuse where the bruises fade and wounds heal, the scars of emotional abuse linger for years and years after those harsh words were spoken.
In my adult life, at the hands of an abuser, I was told that I was fat, ugly, a b____ from h___ and that no one would ever want me if they left me. Now, when they first started saying these things to me, I could not understand why they were being so mean to me. I would look in the mirror and say that although I knew I didn’t have the figure of a super model, I certainly wasn’t fat. I knew that I wasn’t the most prettiest woman in the world, but I knew I wasn’t the ugliest either. I knew that at certain times of the month we all can turn into the wicked witch (thank you PMS!), but I most certainly was NOT a b___ from h___. The last thing that they would say to me repeatedly really left me wondering what was so wrong with me that this person would say all of these mean and hateful things, but then to say that no one would ever want me? As if I was lucky that THEY wanted me … and that I should be thankful that they hadn’t yet kicked me to the curb. It was as if they thought they were God’s gift to me, and I should worship the ground they walked on simply because they took me in when no one would or could possibly EVER want me.
Ummmmm … no!
For way too many years than I want to admit, I did buy into these lies. When you hear something long enough, no matter how sure of yourself you can try to be, the abuser chips away at your self esteem and your self worth. Slowly but surely more of your insecurities will start to creep in, and before you know it, you’re standing in front of the mirror analyzing every little thing about yourself and finding fault with yourself!
WHY do we DO this to ourselves?!
In a world where so many people are waiting to tear us down every single chance they get, the ONE person that should love us is OURSELVES! Are we perfect? No, we all have flaws. Do we deserve to be torn down? Absolutely NOT!
For abusers, I can only imagine that they do not have a good or high opinion of themselves if they look to tear other people down. Do they think it makes them bigger and badder or more appealing when they tear at another person’s self esteem? Do they think it makes them “the man” or “the woman” because they say such mean and hateful things to others? They certainly are not in my book!
All of these things and more can lead a person to not graciously accept a compliment when one is offered. I know I have friends that have recognized this with me through the years, and they know what I’ve been through. They have tried everything to help build me up when the abuser took great pride in tearing me down. As years have passed, I have come to realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with me all of those times that this person launched their assaults on me. There was something deeply wrong going on inside of them that caused them to lash out as they did. I can only pray for them and that they find peace within for the demons that torment them.
I have realized that the only person that I truly need acceptance from is God, and I already have His approval. Does it feel good when someone acknowledges that I got my hair done or that my nails are freshly manicured and look nice with the color that I’ve chosen? Yes, it does! Does it feel good when someone compliments my blue eyes saying that they are beautiful and that they get swept up in these deep pools of blue? Yes, I appreciate that they recognize the assets that God has given to me, and I do consider my eyes to be one of my greatest assets … but I recognize also that my beauty or any one’s true beauty does not come from the outside … it comes from inside. That is where it truly matters.
These days I still remember what the abuser used to say to me, but those words no longer have the power over me that they did at one point. Praise God for that! I have been able to see the hurt that this person carried around inside of them, and I have been able to pray for them. I have also been able to forgive them for what all they did to me. It has taken time, but today I am free from the grip that these words once had on me. Those words no longer rip my heart out when they are spoken because I know who I am. I am a child of God, and I am not only greatly approved but deeply loved by Him.
When someone compliments me now, I do tend to blush, but I will say a gracious, “Thank you” as I smile. And it is a thank you straight from my heart with much appreciation and grace.