*Some Sensitive Content*
Who wouldn’t enjoy a compliment from a loved one, an acquaintance or even a stranger once in a while? A compliment is a courteous way of conveying one’s feelings to another person using words that express praise or admiration. Regardless if you are the one giving the compliment to someone else or on the receiving end of it, studies show that there are actually many physical and emotional health benefits related to the act itself. Whether you’re showing your appreciation to a colleague for a job well done or simply taking note of a friend’s trendy new hairdo, the compliment can heighten their performance level, increase their mood and even strengthen their overall self-image.
As human beings we desire feelings of acceptance and recognition from others and giving someone else a sincere and genuine compliment is probably one of the most effortless and straightforward ways of fulfilling this need. Many times the act of complimenting someone may seem truly insignificant or trivial to the person giving it, but for the person who is receiving it, it can have an enormous impact on them. It indicates to the receiver that they are important, valued and noteworthy which can in fact turn any tiresome or difficult day around.
Unfortunately when living with major depression and anxiety as I do, my thoughts have become increasingly distorted and twisted, even the most basic ones. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate and recognize the sentiment that comes from somebody who is modestly trying to pay me a compliment, but most of the time my negative self-talk will find a disagreeable way to deflect it. I don’t consciously intend to dispute your kind gesture when you have taken the time to make a sincere or heartfelt assertion in hopes of putting a smile on my face, but my illness seems to have a mind of its own.
Throughout my journey I have often recounted to you what it truly feels like to suffer with depression and anxiety using countless metaphors and adjectives alike. My illness runs much deeper than an overwhelming sense of sadness, instead it fills me with an agonizing sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, loneliness, guilt and emptiness all wrapped together in a very unappealing and suffocating little box which often takes away my will to live. Metaphorically speaking I feel like I have become trapped in a very dark, broken down and overcrowded elevator where no matter how hard I try to reach new heights, it always seems to try and take me down instead.
Living in this unrelenting state of mind, I want nothing more than to be able to embrace the simple pleasures in life that most of us take for granted like the enchantment you feel when you wake up to a warm, sunny day ahead or even the exhilaration that comes from spending time with loved ones, but instead I have become paralyzed and numb to these undemanding emotions, making it quite unmanageable to see the beauty in anything, even something as easy-going as a compliment.
At times I may take a less argumentative approach when I am pondering your kind gesture while still debating in my mind that your compliment was undeniably untrue. I may instead choose to not allow the other person to feel my internal struggle by giving them a much less confrontational, non-verbal (yet polite) smile while listening to the voices in my head crying out ‘liar, liar, pants on fire’ and then quickly trying to redirect the conversation.
Even though we have always been taught from a very young age that the only way to accept a compliment from someone is by doing so graciously and respectfully, with a big smile on your face, or maybe even a hug, which is both inarguably and despairingly exhausting for me right now. So instead while I continue to try and find my way through this journey, please know that I most definitely hear your incredibly kind and heartfelt compliments, all of which I have so graciously and respectfully stored away for safekeeping to be retrieved at a later date.