Lately, I’ve been trying to work out why it is that I just cannot take a compliment.
I’m not sure if this is an Aussie thing, a female thing, or a me thing…. ahh the Triple Threat!!
But when I have someone give me a compliment, about anything really, but especially about my body, my first reaction is “Are you Blind?”
It’s finally summer here.. The sun is out, the weather is heating up. I am generally a freezing cold person. Most of the year, I have layers on.. and I mean like up to 8 layers in winter. So when I have some shorts and a tank on, members will often complement how I look. “wow, you’re normally dressed like a snow man, you should look like that more often”, “Hey, look at that, you have really nice arms”, “Look at you… you’re pretty toned.. when did that happen?”
I should be smiling from ear to ear right? I should be proud, I should be telling everyone that this is what happens when you train hard and eat well. I should be accepting the compliment, and it should motivate me to keep going……… But it doesn’t. It embarrass me. I shrug it off and direct the conversation elsewhere so the focus is no longer on me. It makes me more self conscious than ever, coz now I KNOW they are looking at me.. And the feelings that come with that are horrible…
I’m slowly learing to say ‘thank you’ and move on. But that alone is hard. So why is it this way?
Is it the fact that I’m Aussie:
Aussies usually bag each other (for fun of course), and we are very down to earth people. We don’t really need the who-ha, ra-ra, the constant praise and encouragement, to bring ourselves up. We are a quietly confident nation, and we don’t need everyone, in fact any one, trying to pump us up Dodge Ball (White Goodman) style. So when you overly praise an Aussie, they’ll tell you to shut the hell up and pull your head in.
Is it a Female thing:
Lets face it, most women are self conscious about their bodies in some way, shape or form. Doesn’t matter what others think about us… You ask any women what they’d change about their body, and most would give you an answer. I don’t like the fact that it is this way, but for now, that’s how it is. So, are we that self-loathing as to not be able to accept compliments?
Maybe its Me:
I’m really self conscious, about everything, but mainly about my body, for no other reason than the pressure I put on myself, and it being a self-preservation thing. I don’t even walk around the house naked when I’m alone because I’m that uncomfortable doing so. It’s also my personality. I’ve never liked the focus being on me. I don’t like it, nor want the attention. Even on my wedding day when I was walking down the aisle, where people are suppose to look at you, made me feel uncomfortable. I even recently met my favourite trainer and mentor.. I could barely string two sentences together for fear I’d look/sound like an idiot, even though I’m a fairly confident person. I’m the person in the back ground. Always have been, and I’m quite happy to be.
So, where do we go from here?
Life is a constant learning adventure. If you stop growing as a person, then you’re simply going backwards. As Muhammad Ali puts it: “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”.
So maybe we/I need to change. Get out of this triple threat mindset and comfort zone a bit and actually appreciate the compliments. We need to accept that if we work out regularly, people will probably comment on our appearance sometimes.
We need to convince ourselves that its ok for someone to give us a compliment… hell, I give them to others all the time… We need to learn that it’s ok to actually like what people say, without feeling all self conscious about it. It’s ok to be proud of what you’ve build/done. You still don’t have to flaunt it, but you are allowed to accept the praise and feel good about yourself for once. You’ve worked hard for it in the end. It’s more about changing your mind set than it is anything else..
Instead of saying “Are you BLIND?”, lets say “Thanks, I appreciate that”. There’s enough people out there who will put you down…. The least we can do for ourselves is leave the self doubt and self criticism behind.