Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lost Art of the Compliment Part 2

"You look great!" may be the weakest compliment ever given. Sometimes it's not even designed for the receiver, but for the giver.

When I lost 70 lbs after having Nathan, I felt great all the time. It seemed like the weight was melting off without any effort at all. When I would run into people, I would search for ways to compliment them about their looks, so that, in return, they would compliment me. In addition to "you look great" I would compliment people's clothes, shoes, hair, makeup, glasses--anything that might result in a counter compliment. Like author, Tom Chiarella, I was cranking out shallow compliments at a mile a minute, always in hopes of a return on the favor.

When I regained the weight, partly from my own relapse in eating habits, and partly from having two more babies in short succession, I realized how selfish I had been.

Why was I, of all people, so focused on appearances?


I have known Emma since the 9th grade. We are both 5 ft 8 inches tall. When Emma got married, she weighed 120 lbs. I probably weighed 120 in the 4th grade. She has beautiful flowing hair, great skin, and tiny hands and feet. She is the smartest woman I know, with a beautiful singing voice and to top it all off, she is an amazing pianist and cellist.

Over the years, she has watched my weight go up and down. When I'm losing weight, she supportive and complimentary. When I am gaining weight, she is never critical. When I see her after long absences, she says, "It's so good to see you!" Even when I'm losing weight, it's never the first comment that she makes.

"Thank you," I said after one visit, "for always being supportive of me and not commenting on my weight." I couldn't quote her accurately, I'm sure, but the look on her face was, "Of course I don't comment on your weight! You are my dear friend and I love you just the way you are. If you are losing weight, I'm happy for you, but we have so many more things to talk about than your weight. It would be ridiculous to spend any serious time on something so unimportant."


Tigerlily said...

You are truly a beautiful person inside and out. II have always adored your happiness and kindness. What a tribute to a good friend.

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