how to take complimentMost of the time it’s easy. Someone says something nice to you, and you can thank them for being so kind, or you can strike up a conversation about whatever they’ve complimented, or you can tell your grandma to stop embarrassing you in front of your friends. They’re really simple responses that we’ve all cultivated over years of experiencing both positive and negative comments about us and our work and our look and our behaviour.

You know what to do when someone says something nice about you. In theory.

But we all have those days when we just can’t accept them. When we feel so bad about ourselves and about our lives that we refuse to listen to the people who try to reassure us. We reject the people who care enough about us to try to cheer us up. We ignore their nice words and we make up reasons that even we could only believe in dankest pits of misery and self-destruction.

You only think that because you don’t really know the situation.

You only see the part of me I want you to see.

You can’t possibly know that things are going to get better.

You don’t know what an awful person I am on the inside.

As if you’ve spent your whole life up until now carefully constructing a pleasant and charming avatar over your secretly horrible and hateful self. Which you haven’t.

As if you have a much more refined ability to predict the future than anyone else. Which you probably don’t.

As if your friends can’t possibly understand what you’re going through. Which they can.

And do.

By making every attempt to make you feel better, they’re proving that they care about you, that they’re the people who want what is best for you. That even if you don’t know what is best for you, they’re going to do everything they can to help you figure it out and to help you get things back on track.

When your self-esteem is that painfully low, it cuts off your ability to receive kindness. It manipulates everything that anyone says and makes you feel worse. It sees the love that others are choosing to show you and makes you feel guilty for wasting their time.

Why can’t you just be happy so that they can get on with their day?

But when you feel so low that you end up isolating yourself from other people, that’s when you need them most. That’s when you need to ignore the part of you that clings to negativity and listen properly to the people who love you.

That’s when their comments matter most.

When everything’s going well, and you know it, and everyone knows it, enjoy it.

When everything’s going wrong, and you can’t find a way out, and someone has taken it upon themselves to stay by your side and do whatever they can to convince you that you are a special, beautiful, important human being no matter what goes wrong, hold onto that person and never let them go.

Above all, believe them.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.

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