“Oh, is that you? You used to be tremendous.”
“Oh my word – I didn’t even recognize you!”
“Wow – it doesn’t even look like you.”
“You’ve always had such a pretty face.”
“You must feel so much better about yourself.”
Over the past year – I have heard compliments like the ones above over and over again. As a formerly obese person I am really struggling with accepting compliments. Mostly because I never believed myself to be worthy of them before. I’ve been really struggling with accepting that I am worth it. I mean, I know that I am – I also know that I have ALWAYS been…however, as my own worst critic, sometimes it’s difficult.
Something that I never thought of before this surgery was how I would feel when people compliment me. In the past, I have received compliments…obviously. I took them graciously, but really felt that they were sincere. This is totally because of me and where I was at mentally with myself. It had nothing to do with the people whom where the compliments came. Because I was not accepting of myself, I could not accept other people’s praises. It’s funny – sometimes, when it comes to compliments – I am as insecure in accepting them now as I was before losing weight. Compliments are tricky. I have always tried to pay people genuine compliments – that feel like they are meaningful and truthful. I’ve always been one to stop someone on the street or in a mall and tell them that I like their hat or shirt. I know the power of a good compliment – even if I’ve felt that I don’t deserve them.
Before losing the weight – I did not receive many compliments on my body or looks. I mean once and a while I’d get a compliment about an outfit or my hair or my eyes. More compliments came if I was in a cycle of weight loss or paying a little bit more attention to how I looked before I left the house. Most of the compliments that were doled out focused on my work – mostly on my projects or groups that I am in charge of at my job. I’ve always had lots of compliments on my baking and cooking. These are compliments that I’ve always enjoyed accepting. Although these acts, baked goods, or projects are a reflection of me – they aren’t physically me. People are not complimenting my physic, my looks, or my outfits. They are complementing me on things that I could control and for that I have always been grateful. I have always put a lot of time and effort into my career. I’ve always thought that that was the most important aspect of my life – until of course I had kids. Now my family and my health are at the top and work is a close second. I am still focused and working hard daily. Being recognized or complimented for a job well done is something that has and will always boost my confidence.
Now…with the weight loss, I have noticed that people are more likely to voice their compliments – whether it’s via social media or actually to my face. For the most part, it’s a little bit awkward for me. I know that people’s intentions are to make me feel good about myself. In my head though – I can only wonder what they really thought of me before the weight loss. Aside from some more confidence, I really don’t feel that I’ve changed much. I feel like I’ve been doing the same things all along and that really the only noticeable changes come with my appearance. I think some of the awkwardness of accepting complements comes from feeling like I don’t deserve the attention. When you are are a large person – I feel like people look at you and judge you quickly. Oh – she must be lazy. She must eat all day long. In my case, this was simply not true. I was a pretty active obese person. Also, even though there were days when I would have loved to eat all day long….it never happened. When you are not obese – people are more likely to give you a chance. Over the course of this year, I’ve noticed people holding more doors for me, looking me in my eye when they are talking to me, and even just being kinder. Complements about appearances happen a lot more often as well. It’s like the compliments are more obvious when you are not over weight – at least the compliments about outward appearance.
I am not going to lie – I like it when people compliment me on the work that I have achieved over this year. I really have worked hard and I like seeing my results. It is nice and feels good when other people notice the work that you’ve put into something. Sometimes, however, the way people compliment you really make you wonder if you were that huge or horrid before. I know that people mean well – but when you hear things like – “You used to be tremendous!” It makes me stop dead in my tracks. Yes, in all honesty – I was tremendous…I was living in a deep denial of how terribly I had let myself go. The truth does hurt. So, when someone says that to me – which recently happened – I just flash my biggest smile and say – “Thank you!! I’ve been working really hard to not be tremendous ever again.”
How to take a compliment on your appearance is something they should teach you. I am not sure if it has to do with being obese or just lacking self confidence – but accepting them now are difficult!! I should just say THANK YOU and keep on moving. There is often self doubt that creeps in though, which is silly. I know that I am my own worse critic and harder on myself than anyone else!I would like to think that people give compliments because they are being genuine. Before when people complimented my actions rather than my looks – I could actually accept those compliments. Yes, I’m good at what I do. Yes, that was a good event. Yes, I worked hard and it shows. Accepting compliments on something as subjective as looks is a lot harder. I mean, I know I look better. I know I’ve worked hard. I know my clothes fit and look better on me than before. I know that people mean well and I’m working on believing and accepting those well meaning compliments!!
I’m wondering if culturally and socially we need to come together and just try to put more genuine happiness, positivity, and goodness out into the world? We should be complimenting each other on all types of stuff whenever it strikes us to do so. Sometimes a compliment can turn a bad day into a really good one. On some occasions a compliment can pull a really crappy week out of the ditch and can totally change your outlook on life. I’m all for complementing and I’m going to make it my goal throughout this holiday season to pay genuine compliments as my presents to those around me.
AS for me – I’m going to work on taking compliments and genuinely accepting them for what they are. I have come a long way on this transformative journey. It has taken a while for my brain to catch up with my physical appearance. Sometimes when people compliment me on my transformation I really don’t think they are talking about me.
Then I take a step back and say – Heck YES! That is me!! It is a daily learning process – but one that I am willing to study up on. A dear friend of mine recently posted a picture of him and I on my wedding night. He was the amazing DJ at the party. It was such a fun night. He wrote that he had recently found the photo and could not believe the transformation. He also commented that I was beautiful on my wedding day and that I am beautiful today. I know his, as well as other’s, compliments come 100% from their heart.
As always, thank you for checking out my blog this week. I hope that you found something useful or something that you can share. Please come back as I have lots in store of December!!