A new take on giving and receiving compliments. Look beyond the exterior next time you want to give praise to someone in your life…whether it’s a stranger or a close friend!
You look great.
How often do you hear this? Either on the receiving end or just in everyday conversation. It seems to be everyone’s go to compliment. Especially if you’ve recently lost weight, toned up, or got in shape. Never mind how you got there….maybe you were sick with the stomach flu for a week, maybe you’ve been KILLING yourself non stop at the gym, maybe you’ve been skipping meals. Regardless, you’re being told you look great. So it’s all worth it, right?
Wrong. So many times when people pay a compliment to someone else, the first thing they comment on is there appearance. Whether they’re being sincere or not, they go right for the exterior as opposed to commenting on something of real substance.
Especially in the health and fitness world (on social media specifically!), there is hyper focus on people’s bodies. Ab pictures left and right, glute shots, and the ever so popular bra and underwear selfie. Next, what comes is a slew of comments saying how great the person looks. Now I am all for encouragement and praise, but have you ever stopped to consider the measures taken for someone to achieve that look. Most times it’s a lot harder than they make it seem in the idealic world of Instagram. Sure, it may seem easy…but a lot of times those bodies you’re fixating on come at a high price. A high price in physical and mental health. The amount of leanness that’s displayed online is not realistic. In fact, maintaining those levels of body fat can be detrimental, especially for women. But that doesn’t stop people from encouraging it, complimenting it, or wishing for it for themselves.
Telling someone they look great isn’t a crime, but it is basically saying that the person fits the standards that society has set for thinness, muscle tone, and beauty.
‘Great‘ does not necessarily mean healthy. It does not mean happy. It doesn’t even mean sexy, if that’s what you’re going for. It just means that you’re fitting the profile of what society has deemed to be acceptable.
I realize that is not always the case, for example if someone was suffering from an illness and got better or lost weight for health reasons, it might be nice for them to hear that their efforts are showing themselves physically. But overall, what’s the need to comment on someone’s appearance? There is SO MUCH MORE to a person than what they look like. Frankly, if the only good you can see in me is something about the way I look, that’s saying something pretty revealing about how I am carrying myself and expressing myself.
I feel like we’ve become a culture that craves body praise. We yearn for it and put ourselves out there to feed the insatiable thirst for feedback on our looks. Social media has increased this phenomenon two fold and it’s sad that it’s contributing to low body image, self hatred, and comparison world wide.
I propose we make an effort to redefine compliments. I think we can become more mindful of the things we are complimenting others on and reframe our words to comment on things that have more importance.
Instead of “you look great“, how about….
You look so happy.
Your smile lights up the room.
Your laugh is infectious.
You should know how much I enjoy being around you.
That color you’re wearing makes you glow.
You radiate confidence.
When I am with you I feel such a sense of calm.
You make everyone around you feel better about themselves.
I love how you walk with such conviction and determinism.
You’re so strong.
You are one of the most thoughtful people I know.
Your compassion knows no bounds.
You’re important even if you don’t think so.
You always make me laugh.
Your passion is contagious.
I love how you’re always volunteering to help others.
You’re an amazing friend.
I admire your fearlessness.
Our conversations bring me a lot of joy.
You’re so talented.
I feel like I can really trust you.
It’s true. We all like feeling good about our exterior and being complimented on it. But wouldn’t you much rather be recognized for the things that really make you YOU?
With all that said, I don’t want you to feel bad if someone says “you look great”. Not being able to accept compliments is a whole other issue in itself. So take it in, say thank you, but being mindful of the fact that there is so much more to you then what meets the eye. You are not defined by what you look like and you have the power to show the world what you’re really made of.
Do people often make comments about your appearance?
What’s one thing you love about yourself?
Will you make an effort to compliment someone on one of their intrinsic qualities today?
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