My Son has a very beautiful Malaysian girlfriend. Her name is Thelma, which makes me smile as its not a very Malaysian name is it? She is one of those women who is as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. We met for lunch the other day and as we both hugged and greeted each other, we were both receiving and at the same time rejecting each other’s compliments. It was like some extraordinary tennis match where we were trying to bat the ball to each other but instead it was just bouncing all over the place! The encounter set me off thinking that perhaps all of us need more compliments in our lives just so that we can practice how to receive them.
I come from a Yorkshire family with Brothers, who would tend to tease with sarcastic wit rather than say anything positive, and loving parents who probably thought that positive praise would ‘go to our heads’, so it was best not to flatter lest the head swelled and we got ‘too big for our boots’.
Maybe one of the reasons we don’t receive compliments well is that when one does have our name on it, we promptly return it back to sender;
Jules; “ Thelma you look gorgeous”
Thelma; “ No I don’t, but you look lovely Jules”
Jules; “ No I don’t, I’ve got no makeup on!”
Thelma; “ Your skin looks great”
Jules; “ if you like wrinkles! I love your top”
Thelma; “what this old thing…?”
And so it goes…..!
Maybe if we send good things away we aren’t open to receiving them and at some point they will no longer be offered.
The dictionary definition of a compliment is ‘an expression of esteem’. Perhaps we have a difficult time accepting compliments as deep down we think we don’t deserve them because our self-esteem is flagging. Perhaps it would be a healing exercise to our frazzled sense of self worth to simply absorb the positives to remind ourselves that we are indeed radiant, dazzling, gorgeous and brilliant.
We are all so fragile really, especially when we put on a brave face. A sincere compliment can penetrate beneath even the most sophisticated masks to sooth our troubled souls.
The woman who we think needs our compliments the least is probably the one who needs them the most. So, I’ve decided to stop playing ping pong with nice comments, returning them to sender as quick as a shot, perhaps we all should follow suit and resolve to shower each other and ourselves with loving kindness.