Yesterday I was standing next to a friend talking about how I didn't feel good about myself after I got on a scale. My friend a while later in a different conversation and out of context looked at me and said "Hadley, you look great". I said thank you, you too and quickly diverted the conversation.
People are so generous with compliments. I have a friend who every time I see her, even if I have just come from a run, look like I stuck my finger in an electric socket and smell like a dumpster will say "you look happy". Who can so easily come up with kind things to say to another person? Not me. Literally not me. It is not because I would have seen me and thought "is she dying? did her hair get stuck in a fan? did she in fact rummage through a dumpster?". I would not have thought those things either, but I would not have thought of a compliment.
Compliments don't come to me naturally. I'm not sure why. I came from a family who dished them out often. My parents told us how smart we were, when it was directed to me, it usually was preceded by "you just need to apply yourself". But that wasn't an un-compliment, I did not apply myself, and I was actually smart. My sisters have always lifted me up by telling me they believe I am beautiful and strong. But funny, when my family tells me I'm funny, I don't think they quite get how much confidence that compliment gives me. But that's besides the point. I grew up in a house full of compliments. And with people who I find beautiful, handsome, strong, hilarious and giving. But do I tell them? Not nearly as often as they tell me.
And yet, when someone offers me a compliment, I freeze. "You too" is what usually follows. Yep, that is as creative as I get. Someone has just showered me with words of affection and inspiration and I can only come up with "thank you, you too". The reason that's all I come up with is I'm afraid it will sound insincere. Because they said it first, then I follow up with it and then I wonder, will they question my motive? Will they wonder if I really do like their outfit, energy or makeup? Or do they think I said that only because they gave me one first.
First off, if I say it, I mean it. If I give a compliment, it is literally meant from what my eyes see or what I feel in my heart. And then if someone responds with, now this is the worst "No I'm not" or "You're just saying that". Nope, never just say it. And I'm the worst at lying, I've told everyone this. Every Tom, Dick and Sally knows (what happened to those books, are they still being read? I digress), they all know I cannot tell a lie. So why would I have just done so when I said "you're funny", "you're pretty", "you look great", or whatever else someone would argue.
I'm so sincere when I say it, and when I don't. It's not because I think otherwise. I just am not thinking about it. It is in the DNA of some people, like my friend who finds a compliment no matter how I showed up. And then there's me, it should be in my DNA, my family dishes them out like bourbon at 5 o'clock. But I freeze, frozen in word, filling the silence with more awkward silence because I'm searching for what to compliment without sounding in-authentic.
So if you are reading this, and you want to comment and compliment, I welcome it and I thank you. And if you want to know what I think of you, if you are reading this, I'm grateful for you to take the time to do it. Also, you look great!
*This picture is basically what I look like when I awkwardly try to fill the space to find a compliment.