Compliments and criticisms
What do the words “you’re pretty” and “you’re wrong” have in common? I struggle to accept them! Compliments and criticisms are very similar to me in that way. Though I don’t suppose I’m alone. Especially among my fellow low-self-esteemers!
Go on. Tell me I’m smart or beautiful or that I have nice hair. Tell me I’m good at something or that I have a fabulous smile. Tell me how kind or generous or fun I am.
I might blush and say thank you. I might beam and agree whole-heartedly. I might reply with a bit of self-deprecating humour.
But inside, I’m telling myself you’re wrong. I’m telling myself that you’re just being nice; you’re just being polite.
Compliment me all you want, but I won’t trust that your words are pure and sincere.
(It’s not you, it’s me.)
Oh, sure, you might not mean to be cruel. In fact, you might simply be pointing out a spelling error to save me from the embarrassment of someone else finding it. Or maybe you’re trying to help by telling me where I can make something better, even though it’s already good.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how generous and kind you’re being when you point out my errors. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve just pointed out 100 things I’ve done right. All I will hear is how horrible I am.
I suppose the (sad) truth is that I am not the only person who feels this way. And I suppose the (tragic) truth is that I am not the only person who will hate themselves for such weaknesses.
I don’t know how, exactly, I am going to overcome these weaknesses. And I admit that I worry I may never manage. But I have to believe and hope that I will, eventually. After all, we never know what great things the future may have in store for us!