I was inspired to write this blog from a book I just finished reading—Backwards Beauty by Jessie Minassian. The core of what I’m going to write is from her. Just want you all to know this. Since I read this one chapter it has stuck with me in my brain too much for me to ignore it. Jessie is on to something here.
Women, we are beautiful. Yes, we are. But I hear too many of you cringing at that thought. You have your reasons as to why you are not beautiful. Your head is already whirling with them. We do this, don’t we? Inside of our heads, we are the first to criticize our own bodies. Too many of us hate our own bodies. This is epidemic. I wish I could create a magic wish to stop this.
This body-hate that we suffer from is not based on truth. It is based on a fake image that the media sells (literally collects billions of dollars) to us. We use this fake image to compare ourselves to. This is ridiculous. Think about it. You do agree that it is ridiculous, right?
Yet our minds still do it. This is why I wish for that magic wish to stop this. Truth doesn’t stop this so if I can use magic, maybe that will.
Meanwhile, people—particularly guys—see our beauty. They see it and speak it to us. These are called compliments. Sometimes they are said randomly. Sometimes they are said at intentional times. Sometimes they are overheard.
And what do we do when we hear compliments? Because we are so starved to be thought of as beautiful, you would think we would be thrilled and grateful each and every time we hear a compliment. Those words should be speaking right to our hungry souls that need to hear this truth. But no. We become defensive, we become awkward, and we all too often discourage the compliment-giver from doing it again. We block our own truth which we are blessed to hear from others. This truth which also needs to get inside our brains so it can ruminate. Women, this is a mess which we create.
So why would guys even try to compliment us when we react with no appreciation? It is one thing to hear a compliment from your mom or that nice church lady. Those are always good to hear—though we don’t often receive those without awkwardness. But when it comes from a guy…that is more than good! These compliments really stick in our brains and can actually crack the body-hate we have with a “maybe I am really beautiful.” We need more of those cracks! But when we don’t respond gratefully, we intimidate guys from ever doing it again. Women, this is a mess which we create.
This is direct from Jessie Minassian in Backwards Beauty: “We, my friend, are trained compliment killers. With sniper-like skill, we assassinate compliments from guys, girls, parents, teachers, grocery clerks, internet friends, and random people on the street. And we usually squash a compliment one of three ways.
“We block it.
“Like a soccer goal or middle blocker in volleyball, sometimes we completely block a compliment. We see it coming, and we block as if we’re playing the final game of the season and we’re down 2-to-1. If someone tells us we look nice, we fire back with some variation of ‘You’re wrong.’
“We dodge it.
“When we doge a compliment, we pretend it didn’t happen and change the subject as soon as possible. It’s like trying to avoid getting pelted in a game of dodgeball (except this is totally irrational because no one is trying to hurt or disqualify you—they’re actually trying to be nice!).
“We downplay it.
“Downplaying a compliment comes the most naturally to me. How is it done? Well, instead of telling the person they are plain wrong (blocking the compliment), I throw out facts that minimize my role in whatever the person is admiring. In other words, if they like it, I probably didn’t have much to do with it.“ (pp. 87-89).
Which one do you do? Come on. Own up to it. Now stop it.
Stop it if for the only reason is you don’t want to make that brave person who gave you the compliment feel awkward. Stop it because somewhere inside of you there is a confidence in who God says you are. (If you need to know more about your God-given worthiness, keep on reading here at Bravester. We are all about that.) Stop it because to receive a compliment does not make you conceited. It is absolutely possible to acknowledge God’s handiwork without being conceited.
How should you accept a compliment?
Are you ready? This is it. Say “thank you.” Yes, that is it. Then on your insides do a little dance because that compliment feels so good. It does feel good! Remember that feeling! Remember that compliment. Meanwhile continue your kind and gracious face on the outside.
If you do this, there is a very good chance that you will receive another compliment. The compliment-giver was not made to feel awkward or even shamed to give you that compliment. What that means is your insides get to do a lot of dancing! And maybe, maybe these truthful compliments about you can actually crack the body-hate we have with a “maybe I am really beautiful.”
You are really beautiful, by the way.
Read also: It is Possible That You Really Are God’s Masterpiece
Read also: Scarcity
(Photo credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/13609701)