Good Morning Beautiful!
This morning my thoughts stirred as I read a very chilling and saddening story about a woman of 49 who died from complications associated with anorexia. The whole story grabbed me and not only tugged at my heart strings, but choked the very air from my chest. Where does it begin, the struggle and the hate for oneself that ends in death? Something seemingly small caught my attention that made me think, “Is this it, where it began?” The words, “She could never take a compliment.” A compliment, isn’t this what we are all striving to hear, and the reason we do all we can to “look the part”? It is the reason we have imaginary measurements for the perfect size in our heads. However, do we ever accept these expressions of praise and admiration with blushed cheeks and smiles? Most of the time no, not whole heartedly at least. I know I have struggled with this most of my life. I was the one that would always respond to the admirer with a criticism to counter the affection. If they came back with more love, I would turn the compliment to someone else who I deemed more worthy of such praise. I remember the day my therapist picked up on this habit of mine. She said to me, “Shellie, just say ‘Thank you’”. Easy right?
What if we started to accept the approval of others? What if we let the warmth of belonging soak in and feel the love that comes from it? I believe what would happen is the end of self destruction, and the beginning of healing, self-acceptance, and full lives. Does it still sound too difficult? Maybe thinking of the incoming compliments as the work of God in you will help. Are they seeing His work in you shining through; yes I think so. This turns the moment into an opportunity to praise Him. Giving God the glory for your beauty will please Him and bring you closer to Him. God loves to hear our thanks to Him. When a stranger praises you, they are in turn praising His work. We can take the opportunity to acknowledge them and say, “Thank you”.
It is such a simple step towards freedom. I began to, with great doubt and bitterness, accept the compliments with a quiet and shy “Thank you". Just like with speaking to myself in the mirror and learning to not hate on what appeared in the reflection, it took practice to start believing what I was hearing. It happened though. There are still times when I will fall back into old habits, and catch myself dodging or otherwise avoiding the compliments. This is always a reminder that something is awry in my life. I need to take a look at what is causing me to feel unworthy.
If you never start to take steps toward freedom you will never find it. Little baby steps such as accepting the compliments of loved ones and strangers is but one tiny step in the right direction. After all, like I mentioned before, it is what we all are looking for anyway. So, the next time someone praises you for anything, just say “Thank you”. Each time you say those simple words, you will get closer to the day that you wake and start praising yourself, and thanking God for what He created in you as you pass by the reflection in your mirror.
Find the story here that got me thinking today.
Find photo here