I am one of those people who cannot take a compliment, and instead of recognizing that I have been, well, recognized for something positive, I will automatically twist it to defer attention away from myself & how great I am (I know it’s a bit enigmatic… but I don’t particularly enjoy being the center of attention) therefore emphasizing my more negative attributes. Weird, right?
The other day at work, aka my second home, my boss & I were discussing how I can be overwhelmingly difficult on myself for, literally, no reason (I get upset over an A-…I just recently received my first C+, that was a dark day). While we were having this conversation I brought up the fact that my best friend (otherwise known as my babysitter — see this post) thinks that my single status is a direct result of my uncanny ability to point out to others how crappy I am in the face of acknowledging compliments suggesting otherwise.
I am always so eager to cut myself down to size. I don’t know why, but I feel this need to remind the planet that I’m not great, or even good, on the reg’. And it is really incredibly unnecessary, because I’m honestly not that bad. I think that I’ve developed the tendency to either build myself up to this unattainable, and undesirable, person who comes off as a total asshole, or to portray myself as this meek, mild-mannered, mousy girl who no one would ever want to be around… Including herself. (Lately, there has been a lot of meek, mild-mannered, mousiness going on… Sorry best friend aka my human stress ball). Unfortunately, there is no inbetween for me. Which sucks, because I know that there is a perfectly normal (well, in the loosest sense), beautiful, smart, funny girl somewhere inside me that plenty of men would be lining up to be with — at least, according to my grandpa there is. He always told me I was beautiful enough to be Miss Canada, but I think he was slightly biased… Anyway, the problem is not whether or not that girl exists, the issue is I don’t let her shine through. And if someone ever catches a glimpse of her and remarks upon how awesome that girl is, I make sure he knows that I really am not THAT awesome at all and if he starts to doubt me, I give him a laundry list of reasons as to why I actually suck. Trust me, it’s happened. More than once, to be truthful. It’s actually occurred often enough to be considered a pattern… Which is kind of embarrassing.
I have spent a lot of time perfecting how NOT to take a compliment, turns out. Which is really ironic, because I spend tons of time preaching to others about how they need to “be their best self,” and “forget about what everyone else thinks.” I use the phrase “don’t let anyone get you down” more often than is socially appropriate in daily conversation. Yet, when a person turns that self-confidence-inducing preach-y finger back onto me, I recoil in disgust. Me: Great? Talented? Funny? No, you must be thinking of someone else… Because I am actually all of these things: insert list of terrible attributes here.
I find it physically painful to receive a compliment. I don’t know why — I DO have Daddy issues so maybe that has something to do with it… And it might also be another reason why I’m alone — BUT I find it impossible to believe people preaching positive points about me. Im-fucking-possible to believe. Which brings me to my next point: am I single because I can’t receive, accept, acknowledge, take and/or find it difficult to believe when someone compliments me?
All signs point to probably.
Accepting a compliment with grace goes hand in hand with having confidence — I know that. Everyone knows that, and if you didn’t know that, now you do. What I also know is that having confidence helps create and maintain relationships: both romantic and platonic. So maybe if I got it together, and accepted how great I am by letting other people recognize how great I am, I would solve a lot of my problems: relationship and otherwise.