A woman cannot live under the pressure of continuous self-condemnation. It has to stop. Years ago, my friend Mo, one of the most encouraging women I know, graciously opened my eyes to see my strengths. Mo pointed out that I had these beautiful high cheekbones. Thirty years old, and I never saw them. I always gave too much attention to what I thought were my weaknesses to ever notice any positives.
Mo’s investment in me with compliments and encouragement impacted me for life. I am reminded that all good gifts come from our Father above. I know her words were gifts from God to help me feel better about myself. Accepting compliments is an important piece of the healing process to stop condemning and judging ourselves.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
Song of Solomon 4:7 NIV
Compliments Are Good Things
Compliments used to be impossible for me to accept. My response was usually in the form of self-criticism. On my fifty-first birthday, my sister-in-law Kassey took me shopping. I was trying on clothing, and the young sales girl said, “You know you have this really nice shape. Everything looks so nice on you.” Her compliment did not sound fake or like she was forcing a sale. In response, I said thank you and nothing more. I have taught myself to receive compliments knowing God uses other people as messengers. With that belief in place, I treasure sincere compliments as to how God wants me to view myself.
In the past, I would have spewed out my concealed imperfections. I don’t do that anymore. Number one, realistically, why would I want to advertise what I feel to be my shortcomings? Number two, who wants to hear about my imperfections in the first place? Number three, it is time to stop criticizing myself! God lovingly gave me this shape, this bone structure, and this height. It’s okay. It’s all good!
I was watching a ninth-season episode of What Not to Wear with my daughter. Stacy London had on a cute pair of red pants! She looked adorable in them. Her legs are so lean, the pants looked great on her. In the past, I would have beat my brains wishing I had her thighs. “Why can’t I be more disciplined and diet harder?” Blah, blah, blah!
Today, I compliment her. I appreciate her beauty. I can separate the fact that we have different body shapes. I am okay with the fact she is smaller than me. Self-condemnation and self-criticism is not part of my thought process, and jealousy is a wasted emotion. I appreciate my strengths and the strengths of others.
I finally had a revelation moment. It took me long enough! I accepted the fact that there are other women in this world that are thinner, prettier, and more outgoing than me—and it’s okay! I can quit trying to be somebody else. Once I accepted this obvious truth, I was set free in my mind. No more need to perform or strive to be a certain weight. I am at peace with my body. I love my body. I am at peace with who I am. If there are things I want to enhance that make me feel good, like coloring my hair, by all means I do it. God planned our height. God designed our bone structure. It is what it is. Time to be at peace with our body and enjoy the ride!