"I love your dress!"
"This old thing?"
"You did such an amazing job today"
"I didn't do anything special"
"You are so beautiful"
*thinks to self* hahaha
A wine buddy of mine - the darling Kim - and I once had a conversation that made me realize conversations do not have to go that way.
"You know why I love working with you Kim? Because you're consistently nice."
"Thanks Kristie! I am nice, aren't I?"
"and I love that you can let people compliment you."
"Why shouldn't I? I am nice."
In our society through various ideologies accepting compliments have turned into taboo making us all non-complimentarians (how very Zora Neale Hurston of me) in the process. There's this bond that's being formed over this self loathing. Those that don't join in are sometimes pegged as being full of themselves or being of a narcissistic nature.
Here's the thing though. There's a difference in being a narcissist and being a friend of yourself. Kim is not a narcissist, she will be the first to tell you when she makes a mistake - the first. She won't try to hide it or push it onto someone else, but accepts it as part of herself.
Earlier this week I did an interview with Harriet Brown for Psychology Today and I referenced Kim. I was left thinking about the anecdote again last night after Generation Mirror's 1st Spring Fundraiser (sidenote: that's why I posted this Friday, but backdated it...) due, in part, to the amazing people I got to meet there (there is such a difference between a group of eating disorder activists than a group of people... even my friend Erica commented) and I think a key component is this sense of self-compassion. This ability to accept yourself when you are doing something great that is intrinsically you (ie if someone compliments on a piece of artwork you made - YOU made that artwork --- it didn't just happen) and accept that you will make mistakes and to be okay with that. We're not superheroes, we're humans. But both of those things the praiseworthy parts and the mistakes are you. Not just the negatives.
So allow yourself to be complimented. Odds are that woman that told you you were beautiful was not trying to tell you a knock-knock joke.