Today I'm recycling a BEDM post from the other day which I haven't done yet. I've been really bad at this challenge and didn't make it past the second week but I'm trying to use the ideas regardless for blog posts during May and outside of it. I'm going to talk about compliments and the importance of them - giving and receiving.
I find it incredibly difficult to take a compliment be it on my appearance or on something I've achieved. I mumble a "Thank you", go a little bit pink and brush it off. If someone tells me I look nice or that I've done something well I appreciate it but instantly pick it apart in my mind. Did they mean it or was it just something to say? Did they mean it sarcastically or could it be construed as to have negative connotations? I'm just really mean to myself and believe that every nice thing said to me has come with an agenda. I've been this way for as long as I can remember. If a boy took an interest in me I assumed it would be as a joke and so on and so forth in pretty much every area of my life. I remember the insults much more vividly than I remember the compliments.
I don't think I'm a bad person and I believe there are things that I'm good at, things I look nice in and days where I've done good things and while this is essentially a self-confidence issue, it is also because I have had compliments that have been accompanied with a rather large agenda. I've had people say something only to overhear them saying they said it as a joke and proceed to rally off a list of my not-so-complimentary qualities. These things stay with you no matter how old you get, how much you think you are over it or how much you try to love yourself. One bad word can bring horrible memories flooding back and turn you into the biggest self-loathing cow on the planet who wants to set out to make the other person feel as bad as they made you feel, even if they didn't mean to hurt you that much.
Of course, this is not healthy and I do try to keep a healthy mind about these things. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and killing it with kindness is more often than not the most appropriate route to take, even if it's not what you really want to do in that moment in time. I try to focus on the good points, the strengths of people, the colours that are complimentary or the way the haircut really makes their face look soft. I don't always win this war with myself but I can always use my own words to make others feel better rather that tear them down. I am rather blunt and I think constructive criticism is much better for someone to hear than bubble wrapped compliments but I have a line that I try not to cross. If there is really no constructive element to the criticism, it's just harsh and that's not what we should be in the business of achieving. We should be building others up, supporting each other and basking in their glory that will no doubt radiate back to you as to how much you've helped. It's a really good feeling, even if you beat yourself up about it later.
So let's make a promise to compliment someone every day be it on their home, their lipstick, their achievements or the way they are. It could really make someone's day and the smallest gestures mean so much, especially to people who you may not know have fallen on hard times within themself. Let's also make a promise to compliment ourselves, even if it's just to say "Well you really are bloody excellent at putting yourself down". It'll come. Promise.