hrough the Looking Glass: The Gift of a Compliment
written by Kathryn Martyn
How do you see yourself? I read so many e-mails from people who say
they've lost a lot of weight, and yet, they still feel ... worried,
anxious, afraid. They see themselves as the same heavier person, and
don't believe they can keep the lost pounds off. The problem becomes
not one of staying with a new life plan of better eating and more
body movement but one of racing to get back to the "old me." It's
the comfort level of seeing yourself in a new and improved way that
causes much of the earlier gains to be lost.
Gather up a selection of old magazines and start going through them,
looking for people who have similar body styles as yours but smaller.
We're going to find role models in the real world that resemble how
we'd like to start to see ourselves, and then we're going to cut out
our heads and paste them onto new bodies - giving ourselves a visual
help to see ourselves the way others see us. We tend to be our own
worst critics. No one is ever going to pay as much attention to you
as you do yourself. The rest of the world is too busy thinking of
themselves, worrying we're looking at them.
If you some part of yourself you don't like and focus on it to the
exclusion of all else, you'll keep yourself stuck. A beautiful lady
with short stubby fingers doesn't know how lovely she is because she
only sees her "sausage" fingers. "If my hands look so fat and ugly,
how could the rest of me be any different?" When her husband tells
her, "You look nice tonight," she's thinking, "But what about my
hands? You must think they're horrible. I know they're ugly, so
I'm ugly. You're only trying to make me feel better, so thanks
a lot but it won't work."
When someone compliments you they are giving you a gift and by
refusing their compliment ("My hair? Oh, my gosh, it looks awful
today") you are, in effect, refusing their gift. If someone gives
you a lovely box at Christmas do you say, "Oh, no. There must be
a mistake. You don't like me. Here take it back. I don't want it."
Probably not. You probably say, "Oh, wow! Thanks. That's really
sweet of you."
Yet, when someone comments on something we're wearing we try to
discount it saying, "This old rag? I've had it for years."
"You really look beautiful tonight," he says to which you reply,
"Well I feel just awful. I'm bloated and tired. Look at these bags
under my eyes. And my weight? I've never been so heavy. I wish we
didn't have to go to this party," and now he's wishing he would
have kept his mouth shut.
Learn to accept compliments graciously and you'll start to
appreciate yourself more.
Practice accepting a complement:
Lesson 1: Say thank you.
"You look nice today."
Smile. Pause. "Thank you." Smile. (Think: It's a gift, be
That's it. Don't add anything. Don't try to minimize what they
said, don't brush it off. They are giving you a gift. Accept it
graciously. "Thank you." It's not so difficult to say. Try it.
"Thank you." Smile. Practice. It's the smile that relieves any
tension or embarrassment, so practice smiling in response to
compliments until it becomes your natural response.
Find a mirror, hand held or full length, it doesn't matter. Look
deeply into your eyes and say these words like you really mean
it, "You look nice today." Pause and listen to what's running
through your head then let those thoughts go. Speak it out loud,
if you are alone, "Thank you." Then smile--show some teeth,
really smile. Smiling feels great. Practice smiling for a few
What feels best? Smiling first, or after? While you're practicing
notice what you do with your body when you either smile or say,
"Thank you." Do you draw in a deep breath? Do you pull your
shoulders up near your ears in an effort to hide? Do you turn your
head to the side and lean it toward your shoulder?
It's okay, whatever you might do in reaction, just notice it. Most
of those movements are related to feeling unworthy of the
attention, but you are worthy simply by virtue of one having
given you the compliment in the first place. If someone deems
you worthy, you are worthy. Relax those shoulders. Breath. Think
of a compliment as a nicely wrapped box, and learn to accept it
with appreciation for the giver.
By practicing first then the next time someone gives you a compliment
you can truly accept it and give them a nice smile and thank you in
return. Watch their face and you'll see they're happy their gift was
well received, and you'll feel better too. Try it.
Yours in good eating,
Kathryn Martyn, M.NLP