My mum loves to compliment me. She does it to help me feel loved, affirmed and beautiful. However, her absolute favourite “compliment” is “You’ve lost weight!”
The fact is, I haven’t lost weight and I have no intention to. In fact, I’m working hard to disassociate my happiness and self-esteem from my appearance completely: I don’t want my mood to depend on how I look.
The problem is, I really want to be able to affirm my friends and family in the way I want to be affirmed — in ways that recognize their inner awesomeness, and are completely disconnected from how they happen to look like on the outside that day. Usually I’m not stuck for words, but with this I’m stumped. Our culture has conditioned us to always focus on the outside, and the first thing I want to say when I want to compliment people is, “You look great!”
So my question is, how do you go about affirming people in ways that don’t reference their physical appearance? -Loubelou
Great question, and I think it’s one for which our Homies will have a lot to great insights. We’ve already talked about preventing body shaming, and the discussion was AWESOME. Now let’s talk about how to compliment someone without referencing their physical appearance.
Right off the bat, a great go-to for people you’re close to is to hug them and then compliment their hugging skills. “Dude, you’re such a good hugger!”
Or for people you haven’t seen in while — and this is where it’s hard NOT to mention something about their looks, because if you haven’t seen their physical form in a long time, you may be taking in all their new and different appearance data — is to just say, “I’ve really missed you!”
Perhaps think of something they accomplished recently and compliment them on that — that’s one of the few times Facebook can be your friend. “Congrats on that awesome sculpture you just made. I heard it sold in no-time-at-all. Damn, you’re creative.”
Now let’s talk about more ways to compliment people that don’t have anything to do with their physical appearance.