This past week-end I attended a Christmas Party that a friend and her partner were throwing at their house. I decided that since we had spent the night before with our two sons at a hockey game that I would bring just my daughter and have a "girls night".
Since it was a party I had Holly dressed up in her party dress and her party shoes. I put her hair up in a nice pony tail, she even let me brush it this time. She had super cute tights with a little ruffle on her bottom. With her party dress on she had a lovely pink sweater. Holly was so excited to go to the party that she had her coat on and was ready to leave before I was even ready.
I got my self ready as well. I wore a new shirt that I had bought for the occasion, put on some make up, painted my nails. I did my hair, I almost always wear a pony tail. I pull out my favorite Fluevogs, black Mary Jane shoes that I adore. I looked great!
We got to the party and Holly was shy at first but soon she was the life of the party. The older kids took very well to her and were happy to show her around, carry her and make sure she had food. They brought her to me when she asked for me and took her away when she was ready to play. The adults fussed over her, wanted to carry her and exlaimed how cute she was. Of course I think she's cute, she's my baby!
I had a lovely time. Much needed adult conversation - I spend my days with kids. I laughed, ate and had a glass of wine which I milked all night long. I saw some old friends and was very happy that I went.
As Holly and I were leaving. The host was holding her and told her she was beautiful. I said thank you for her. Then he said "just like your mommy". At that I said "well I think she looks a lot like her aunt". He then said something to me that I have been thinking about for two days. You are just like your friend (his partner) "can't take a compliment when it is deserved". As I said I have been thinking about this since he said it and he is right. I am thrilled when people compliment my children. Whether it is how adorable they are, how smart they are, talented, funny, sweet or nice. THRILLED to hear it. When someone compliments me, I don't know how to take it. I get embarassed and either deflect the conversation or put myself down. I know I am not alone in this.
I have been think alot about why people do this. In my case it is not an issue of self esteem. I know I am smart, funny, likeable, kind and great to be around. Beautiful inside I know but outside I am working on. It is the outside part that I have personal issues with. Like a lot of us again, my hair is too straight, my nose is to wide, I'm too short, my muscles are thick, my thumb is deformed (this is true), my breasts are too... I dunno I'm working on that one, my feet are too wide and my cesarean scar is too crooked. I am sure if I gave it time I could go on. But why? I could take all of those and switch it - my hair is soft and a beautiful natral colour, my nose is dignifying, I am a petite hight, I have a strong build, my thumb is original, my breasts have fed three babies, my feet are grounding and well the scar... birthed my baby boy and saved his life!
If we could take all these negative things we think about ourselfs and practice ahimsa (non-harming) and be kind to ourselves and positive with ourselves. If we took the word Namaste (the light within me recognizes the light within you) and believed it about others and ourselves, I think we might all be able to take a compliment a bit better. So John if you are reading this... thanks for the compliment - I am working on it!
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.