Why can’t you take a compliment? – Guest Post by Thomas Ives @ Bestowing Fire
Oh man do I hate it when someone says this to me. I am serious. I really HATE it. There is a reason that I don’t accept compliments like you do. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. There is so much going on as you said that comment and yet you still stand there judging me. I hope that by the end of this blog post, you will have a little more understanding of “Why”.
Not only does a mental illness cause me great stress throughout the day but it also leaves a trail of destruction that takes years to “heal”. I am only now able to close the wounds that were left behind 20+ years ago. It’s a very difficult and tiring process to separate the lies buried deep inside from the truths that I know are true. It’s worth it because the light is getting brighter than this wretched darkness.
Before I answer the question, I want to explain one other thing. For me, I have put up a wall and only let a selected few in. These people know about my battles, struggles, fears, and thoughts. I do this because I already have one battle going on daily internally and I don’t want to have to fight another one externally. The selected few show me love, compassion and understanding. This helps me feel safe to open up more to them without the criticism, stigmas, and judgements.
Now to finally answer the question “Why can’t you take a compliment?”. The main reason is that I don’t believe you. I don’t care if we were on national tv and you gave me an award with the compliment. I still would not believe you. If only you could see what I see through my own eyes. Only then would you understand. How can I believe your one compliment when I have hundreds of thoughts telling me otherwise? Yes, I know that these thoughts are lies but they are my own thoughts and not yours. I was recently complimented that I was handsome and I played it off like it was a joke. I later thanked the person for it though.
Even though I may not believe you and put up a wall to keep you out, I truly do appreciate the compliments. When I am deep in thought fighting my battles, I will replay the compliments that have been said about me and use them as the positive reinforcements that they are. These have helped me over the years to strengthen the truths to slowly eliminate these horrible lies. Even on my bad days now, I am able to be productive and not lay in bed all day. It has not been easy but it has been worth it.
Don’t take it personal the next time you give someone a compliment and they don’t truly accept it. There is more going on internally than what you can see on the outside. I am pretty good at hiding it from others and they might be too. Just know that they are grateful for the compliment. Also, don’t ever stop giving out compliments to that person or anyone else. Please share your compliments freely with others. There have been times in my life when a simple compliment came at the perfect time when I needed. There is a good chance that you have no idea what they are going through or even thinking about at the exact moment.
My name is Thomas Ives and I created Bestowing Fire. I have been battling with depression since I was a teenager. I have taken medication for it along with talking to a professional, which have helped me see life in a different perspective. I feel that not only is the depression some sort of a curse, it is also a blessing. I made the decision in 2012 that I would never give in to the depression and that I would continue to fight it so that I can be as successful as I know I am capable of. I created this site to help others see that there is more to life and that they can be who they know they can be.
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