The next time someone gives you a compliment, rather than objecting (“No, I’m so fat”), practice taking a deep breath and saying “thank you.”
This comes as one of a set of five helpful tips towards ending the negative body-image talk we as a society engage in as par for the course in normal everyday conversations. Just take a deep breath, and say “Thanks”.
What a fantastic bit of advice. How difficult is it today to not qualify any positive comment we receive with some sort of put-down to ourselves or with a blatant attempt to re-direct the conversation elsewhere? If someone compliments your shirt or some part of your ensemble, saying the color or style looks great on you, do you reply negatively with “Oh this is just what I had left, it’s laundry day” or “No, I think this color just washes me out completely!” or “Meh, maybe but it is nothing compared to so-and-so’s kicking outfit!” or even “No, this makes my butt look bigger!” Anything, everything possible that you can think of, just so that tiny spotlight is taken away, so that no positive reinforcement of you being a beautiful, worthy, lovely individual could possibly be accepted.
Why is it SOOO difficult for us to just freaking smile and say, “Thanks!” No addendum, no deflective means of instead pointing the compliment-er to your skills as a mad sales-shopper instead of a well-dressed woman, no body-bashing, no subtle refusal of the kind words. Just a simple acceptance of someone recognizing you and pointing out a positive little thing, acknowledged with those two little words “thank you.”
One way to reject “Fat Talk” is to recognize that we all have more to offer the world than our appearance.
Appearance isn’t the end-all, be-all defining feature of our worth in this world. It is a tiny little aspect of the entirety of what we all consider to be “ourselves”. Our bodies are just the shell containing who we are! And yet, isn’t it amazing, if you stop to reflect upon it for a few moments, how frequently we all tend to deflect or re-direct any positive body compliments and seem to suffer in silence through negative comments, feeling guiltily deserving of the negativity, never once considering that we are deserving of the POSITIVE or kind words. Well the heck with that! As my part of agreeing to put down the body-hatred and join in the Delta Delta Delta initiative “Reflections”, I agree to spend this entire week learning to say “thank you.”
Not only do I accept this week of Fat-Talk Freedom as a time to avoid all negative body-image talk, about myself or others, but I also encourage you all to do the same and learn how, when those small little compliments come, to just smile and accept it for what it was, someone noticing you positively. And say, “Thanks.”
Someday we might even get to the point when people DON’T comment on our bodies; when they instead compliment our minds and spirits and actions instead. Until that time though, I will work one step at at time and practice accepting kindness and body-positivity when it comes, for just what it is: kindness and acceptance. Oh, and Thank You!