Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Would you like a gag with that compliment?

Receiving a compliment is weird. It's kind of positive, but it's also kind of negative in one sense. While I like to think I'm quite good at accepting compliments, (not because I'm vain, or think the person is right in what they say) but purely because I think sometimes, it's better to accept a compliment, than deny it and somewhat publicly humiliate the complimenter by throwing it back in their face. Its like, that just isn't very polite. I also feel that if I deny a compliment, someone might actually take offense and feel that I'm being weird and stand-offish, when that wouldn't actually be the case.

Meanwhile, refusal to accept a nice remark or comment made by someone, whether it be a friend, relative or stranger, can actually make you question yourself further. Someone recently told me they thought I was pretty, and I immediately jumped up, defensively, and shrugged off their compliment, when deep down I could have (and should have) just smiled and realised that actually it was a nice comment coming from a nice place. While this person was complimenting me, I was going over and over in my head listing the things that were, in my opinion, wrong with myself, both internally and externally, and why, in my opinion, this comment was not fitting for little old me. Compliments are sometimes back-handed, yet this is unintentional. Cue a Mean Girls quote: "Oh my god, I love your bracelet, where did you get it?" and shrink back with disdain and hatred we collectively share for arch-nemesis and ultimate bitch, Regina George. What about these: "Is your hair different, it looks nice" makes you think "does it look a mess usually?" "Have you lost weight?" Is that a hint that you probably need to shed a few pounds? A comment on your physical appearance makes you feel analysed and subjected, and yet happy/sad/worried at the same time. I don't ever think I've had bundled of self-confidence, but every so often, there will be peaks and troughs, just a everyone has.

When someone comments positively about me, maybe I don't believe them because previously, someone who has said the same or a similar thing, turned out to be lying/not really bothered/not who I thought they were, so maybe their judgement isn't to be trusted. Am I afraid of what the compliment means, in both surface meaning and deeper meaning? Yes. What if someone I like tries to flatter me and I turn all gullible and believe every word they breathe in my presence, then later turn out to have been taken for a ride, and end up looking stupid and foolish. Yet another reason to avoid accepting and believing compliments. An outfit praise, a "thin" comment or a realisation that my hair is different to what it was yesterday can all spark the same gut-wrenching reaction. We jerk backwards. We recoil. We hide away from the positives and seemingly attract the negatives like magnets. It is, of course, proven that while you can receive a hundred compliments and doubt every single one, yet one insult or negative comment, and it will dwell and stay with you for years.

Ross: Rach, come on, look, I know how you must feel.
Rachel: No, you don't, Ross. Imagine the worst things you think about yourself. Now, how would you    feel if the one person you trusted most in the world not only thinks them too, but actually uses them as reasons not to be with you.
Ross: No, but, but I wanna be with you in spite of all those things.
Rachel: Oh, well, that's, that's mighty big of you.
Ross: You know what? You know what? If things were the other way around, there's nothing you could put on a list that would ever make me not want to be with you.
Rachel: Well I guess that's the difference between us. See, I'd never make a list.

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