I'm the queen of compliments. I can dish them out better than almost anyone I've met, but when the roles are reversed, I suddenly turn into the most awkward human who has ever existed. I find my body contorting in ways I didn't know were possible. I seemingly melt away into a pool of nothing because somehow that is easier than accepting a kind word.
The saddest part of this whole thing is that there is an alarming amount of people who fit this description, hopefully without the awkward body contortions though. Taking a compliment is like hearing nails slowly move along a chalkboard: painful. But why?
It was clear for me that the pain stems from not believing the words. It hurts to hear something said to us and not feel the same. Even more than that, we often feel the exact opposite to be true. We question how someone can say something so kind, and it forces us to be reminded of how unfair we are on ourselves. To cover up our inner turmoil, we quickly retort with an excuse of why this compliment is wildly undeserved, or we press to quickly have all attention moved from us because we fear others might see our perceived inequities and downfalls.
Maya Angelou once said that words are things and that they get underneath your skin and into walls. I find this to be one of the truest statements I have ever read; however, the words we choose to let sink in and wallpaper our rooms too often are the negative ones we dish out to ourselves or ones that were thrown to us in moments of anger. We rarely allow the uplifting and empowering soak into our hearts and minds.
Leave it to my inspiringly brave students to help me take this heartbreaking trend and turn it into a beautiful message. I introduce to you the #JustSayThanks movement. Why? Because it's time to stop beating ourselves up and to start slowly working our way to seeing ourselves how everyone else does. It's about learning to accept that you are in fact worthy. You are enough, and, even more, you are exceptional.
We seemed to shy away from any positive light and appeared to magnify any perceived darkness. Heads would drop, bodies would shift, and minds would immediately search for ways to deflect once we were complimented by our own friends. However, the message seemed to click with this remarkable group of teenagers because they quickly picked up on the underlying issue of it all: a lack of self-love.
They pressed their friends to take a moment to let the words sink in before swatting them away. They reflected on their own tendencies to shun what others love about them. It was a beautiful lesson of the power of words--the ones we hear and the ones we tell ourselves.
Join me. Join these inspiring kids, and start accepting what you rightfully deserve--a compliment. Life is hard enough without us adding to it. Let's get this trend to sweep across the world because of the sheer fact that we are enough. We don't need to deflect. We don't need a speech. We need merely to #JustSayThanks.