Something That I’m Awful With: Compliments.

That’s right. I can’t give them, I can’t receive them. Why? I mean I have my ideas as to why, but I just think it’s weird. It’s crazy how things you go through in your past really do effect the person you become. When most people are asked to name something they’re bad at they probably think like….dancing. Or hitting a volleyball over a net. I mean, I’m not very good at those things either, but I’m not absolutely awful at them at the same time. I am with compliments, though, I know that for sure.
I guess it all started growing up and being bullied because I was skinny. Whenever people “compliment” me on my body image now, I can’t handle it. It may be something sent with love, but it goes back to being judged on something I couldn’t change. When I got to high school I wasn’t really bullied anymore but got into a relationship with a guy who…let’s just say the nicest, sweetest guy ever. He showered me with compliments every opportunity he had and it completely overwhelmed me. There were so many that I didn’t know how to react appropriately. I eventually became angry and defensive every time he would open his mouth and it soon ended our relationship. That all happened about three years ago but it really impacted the simple act of a compliment. It’s hard for me not to argue when someone tells me they like my hair, or that I look pretty today. I can’t ever reach out and tell someone they look really good in the picture they just uploaded or tell them that I like their outfit. It’s hard, but I’m trying to work on it.
This past summer I went to a Theology of the Body Camp. It was at this camp that my opinions started to change. Instead of giving every woman they came across the up and down “elevator look,” the men at this retreat truly treated each one of us with respect. It felt incredible to dress modestly and know that I was being looked at with a pure heart. I made so much eye contact with every male I talked to-and that’s such a powerful thing. Looking at someone directly in the eye shows them that you care about them-their feelings, person, worries-not their body image. It was amazing. While I was there I received the best compliment I ever have. I was waiting in the lunch line and a deacon looked at me and he simply said “Elizabeth, you like nice today.” He used my name, he said this while looking into my eyes and smiling. So simple. So powerful. I knew that he meant it. God must have known how much the simplicity in his words meant to me because the guy in front of me turned around and said, “Yeah, I agree Elizabeth, you do look nice today.”
How powerful. It meant so much to me. I may not be the best at giving or receiving compliments, but it is something I know I can work on. I know that God is always working to help me become a better person, and he couldn’t do that without putting me through the events of my past to realize that I do need some help.
Have a great Thursday!
~E

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