Women and Compliments

“A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.” – Victor Hugo

Is that the reason why women are so shy about receiving it? At a good friend’s birthday brunch the other day I was among a bunch of (fabulous) women. Even though we had just barely met, we all found something to love in one another. “Oh what beautiful skin you have!” said one. “I’m wearing foundation,” was the answer. “Your sari is absolutely stunning!” was met with “yes, its my granny’s, but look, the pallu is eaten by moths.” Basically every compliment had to be deflected with something self deprecating. So I narrated a story to these women that was told to me years before by my friend Victoria.

Victoria had a room mate who never said anything negative about herself. No “my boobs are too small,” or “my pores are too huge”. After many months of living with this seemingly perfect creature, Victoria asked her how did she not find anything to critique in herself. After all, every woman does, right? So she said, “It’s not that I think I’m perfect, it’s just that if I point out my flaws then others will notice them too.” Sounds right to me, and everyone agreed too.

But even after my wise words, when I was at the receiving end of a compliment later that afternoon (“my god you’re such a cutie!”), I found myself trying to arrange my features into an expression that I hoped was humble and self-deprecating. So why is it that we ALL find it so difficult to receive compliments. Why must everything flattering be answered with ‘yes but…’. Why can’t we just say a simple thank you?

Here’s the thing, a compliment is the most basic gift that we’re receiving. By rejecting it, we are blocking more gifts from coming our way. So I say answer every compliment with a simple thank you. Whether its real or not is none of your business. You just need to open yourself to receive. And once you learn how to receive, then compliments are just the beginning of many more gifts coming your way.

Take a cue from men. We all know that even the most Average Joe doesn’t think poorly of himself. Just have a look at this Turkish Airways advertisement to know what I mean…

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