I have issues with accepting compliments. All trauma/abuse related. I usually wonder why people are complimenting me? What do they want from me? In my past, many people manipulated me with compliments and so as a result, I am very wary of compliments. They can be very triggering.
But, I recognise, some people do actually genuinely mean what they say.
Today, at my ladies group, one lady described me as ‘very beautiful’ and someone who does not need makeup.
Compliments about my appearance, can be the most difficult to accept. I’ve been called many things about my appearance, good and bad. And all too often, the ‘good’ compliments, were said by abusive, manipulative people, who wanted to exploit/use me in some way.
I tend to shrug off compliments about how I look. Over the last few years, I’ve learned to be less concerned about the motivations of people giving me compliments. But, I don’t accept them either. I thank people, but inside the compliments are just dismissed.
I prefer people complimenting my values, character etc. That doesn’t have the same bad association – as compliments about my appearance.
But, today, this compliment was said by someone, who I had already discerned as someone who does not say anything she does not mean. She’s a lady in her 50’s, very well educated lady, clearly intelligent, confident and I always note her depth of conversation. And she does not strike me as someone who says things, without meaning it. There is no reason for her to try to manipulate me.
We also had a conversation between the two of us, about being Christians. She mentioned she fully embraces her grey hair, as that is what God gives us at a certain time of our lives, and she embraces getting older. And we both had the same view on growing old graciously.
So, I picked up on the God comment and asked her if she is a Christian, and she confirmed, she is and her father was a church minister. That led to a conversation about faith and we have something in common, we are both ‘unfundamentalists’, who do not relate to fundamental church people. It was nice to have this conversation. It is nice to connect with someone who has faith in common.
So, I will just accept the compliment. Accept it was genuinely meant. Accept it graciously. Just be okay with someone complimenting me, and believe it was meant with good motivation.
And keep it in mind, whilst discerning future conversations.
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I am adding to this post – due to sharing this blog post on Twitter, many have responded stating they did not realise why they had an issue with compliments. And now they understand this issue, what causes it and why they feel and react the way they do.
And many very relieved to know they are not alone in this.
I am SO thankful to be able to understand these deeper and pervasive issues caused by complex trauma.
I am SO thankful to be able to help others and to validate how it feels, the triggers, the shame, the fear, the anxiety.
I am also SO thankful to give some hope, that we can work on this issue, and that I too am in this journey, trying to heal all these many wounds.
Hope, validation, understanding. So vital to complex trauma survivors.