Friday, June 1, 2012

from the outside, looking in

Have you ever had a friend who you look at, and you see how amazing, intelligent, and put together she is? But you know that she doesn't see the awesomeness that is what everyone else sees? The one who no matter what you tell her, she constantly deflects your compliments?

You say: "You look beautiful in that dress, darlin'!"
She responds: "No, I don't. I look fat."

You tell her: "That haircut really flatters your gorgeous cheekbones."
She claims: "Oh, my husband/boyfriend hates it."

You proclaim: "I wish I had your confidence when I walk into a room."
She says: "I wish he would pay more attention to me."

She's not a Debbie Downer, she is all of us. She is what everyone thinks she is when they look in the mirror. She doesn't mean to be negative, but she cannot ever look at herself in a positive light no matter what you tell her. We've all done it, we've all been there, but none of us have any idea how it affects our friends.

When you pay someone a compliment, you aren't being patronizing - you are telling someone sincerely that you admire them. When they respond with a negative, doubting comment... it makes you feel aggravated, like you have no credibility and maybe leaves you a little bit (or a lot) frustrated. Think about it.

When you tell someone that their dress makes them look beautiful and they respond with "I look fat," doesn't it make you second guess yourself? Like you're not being truthful because your friend doesn't believe anything you tell them? It sucks, doesn't it? Sure does. One of my achilles' heels is when someone questions my credibility (another is my intelligence, but that's a post for another time).

The irony here? I am guilty of deflecting ALL. THE. TIME. I don't even hear myself say it, but I am so used to beating the shit out of myself with my own inner dialogue, that when someone says something NICE to me, they can't possibly be telling me the truth. Now, I totally understand how it feels when you are trying to be encouraging to a friend and they constantly respond with doubtful, negative, bone-crushingly frustrating retorts.

I attention to myself when being paid a compliment, and if I can't think of something nice or positive to say (or even "thank you"), I will simply SMILE. Not saying anything when someone pays you a compliment is a hell of a lot nicer (to them) than deflecting it. Nobody wants to hear how much you hate yourself after they have just told you that you admire something about them! So SMILE. Eventually, those nice words they are saying to you? They become easier to accept, and something miraculous may happen. You may actually start BELIEVING the compliments.


Fuck the haters. You don't need to listen to those voices in your head, or even those in real life, who have nothing positive to say about yourself. YOU need to love who you are, and YOU are the only person who has control over how you feel. When you rely on someone else to provide you with value, you lose who you are. DON'T ever give someone else that kind of power over you.

You ARE amazing. You ARE intelligent. You ARE beautiful.

You're WELcome. <3


  1. I've never been aggravated by your deflections, just sad that you couldn't see what I saw.

    Because, I have impeccable taste.

  2. Right on, Kristin. You're so right. I deflect a lot. Some people think it's fishing, or dismissive, but it is tough to see the good sometimes.

    Thankfully you have been able to see the awesomeness, the beauty, the strength and the great friend that is YOU.