Take A Compliment As Seriously As A Criticism
You look sexy. You are smart. Your weirdness is enviable.
When we receive criticism — from our boss, our partner or even a stranger — we take it to heart. We carry it around with us for weeks (or if you’re a special breed of self-sabotage like me, years!), wondering what we did wrong and why we did it. And in turn, begin to crawl into a dark hole of insecurity.
When we receive a compliment — your work is fantastic, I admire your dedication, I love your style — we shy away from it. Or worse, we brush it off like it doesn’t matter.
Why do we do this?
Why do we feel shameful when we should feel liberated? Why do we feel guilty when we should feel proud?
We mistake constructive criticism for insults.
We have been conditioned to think and behave in a way that places the feelings of others above our own.
We are conditioned to think, behave, work, parent, and even love, a certain way. And if we don’t fit the mold, we’re outcasted, made fun of, gossiped about, or simply shrugged off.
How messed up is that?
Mindset is Everything
I was having a conversation with some girlfriends the other day about the Instagram life versus real life. Brief conclusion? What you see on Instagram is a life of aspiration, not reality.
It’s comparable to runway fashion. The designer clothes are meant to be aspirational for people. High fashion represents the ideal life, or an allusion of an ideal life, in order to escape reality and live in a fantasy. If even for just one day.
Instagram (and social media in general) works in the same way.
When your mind is in the right place, you feel excited and inspired by the beautiful images and motivational messages you come across. When your mind is not in the right place, those same images that fueled your creativity are now toxic visions that start telling you things like:
You aren’t enough. You aren’t successful. You aren’t pretty. You aren’t fit. You aren’t important.
Keeping your mind in a place of positivity is a lifelong practice. There are obvious tools like working out, eating healthy, and surrounding yourself with people who celebrate you that all aid in good mental health.
But life doesn’t go as planned. And it doesn’t stay still. Everything changes. It’s up to us if we want to accept and embrace the change, or complain about it.
The “ideal” image of attractiveness is one we’re all familiar with: Tall but not too tall. Skinny but not too skinny. Stylish but not outrageous. Smart but quiet. Perky but not naive. Likable but not the center of attention. Sexy but not promiscuous. Agreeable.
Even the ideal image of the ideal can’t keep up with itself. What does that tell us? That the ideal image — the ideal LIFE — does not exist.
We’re fabulous because of our flaws and quirks. Not in spite of them.
Being yourself — whoever that is — is attractive.
The next time someone tells you they love your artwork, believe them. The next time someone tells you you look gorgeous, believe them. The next time someone goes out of their way to call you or meet up with you, know that it’s because you are worth spending time with.
Take a compliment without dismissing it.
What other people think of you doesn’t define you. You define you. Be you and be excited about it.
Thank you for reading! I just started reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, and I can tell — from 32 pages in — that it is going to be my favorite book of summer. I’ll let you know when I finish it to give the full review, but I highly, highly recommend this one.