Give the compliment and take it. If there are two things I could teach my daughters, it would be just that.
I cannot deny that for the last year I haven't been very proud of my body. I've put on my fair share of post baby, post nursing, depression, ice cream obsession weight. And while I have been working really hard to become a healthier and happier me, I still am learning to love my body as it is and for all the amazing things it can do -- like carry a 37 pound kid and two arms full of groceries up the stairs simultaneously.
Today, while I was with my daughters at the grocery store, I overheard a woman near me say, "I love that dress on you." Obviously, I didn't respond, because there was no way she was talking to me.
Until I realized she was.
The woman came up closer and my oldest tugged on my arm to get my attention. "I love that dress on you," the woman repeated as she looked directly at me and pointed at my dress. I was stunned. Of all the people in that crowded store, she was talking to ME!
My immediate reaction was to deflect the compliment. I wanted to tell her that we had been outside at the park in the heat. That I was super sweaty and probably super smelly. That I hadn't slept well because my youngest had been up the night before. I wanted to tell her that my body used to look a whole lot better. That when I found out my youngest was not neurotypical and had developmental delays I flung myself into solitude and food for comfort. I wanted to tell her how much I hate the way I look most days. But my daughters were watching, so I told her "thank you." Although it was completely out of my comfort zone, I took the compliment.
And as much as I hope my daughters will learn to take the compliments they are given, I also hope they take a cue from this woman and look for the good and beauty around them and willing give compliments to others. After today, I know I will.
Before the woman walked away, I made sure to tell her how much her words meant to me. Words are powerful. We can break or make a person with what we say. And she made my day.
If you are reading this, I want you to know you are deserving of the compliment -- take it. And don't be afraid to go out of your way and use your words to build someone else up -- at school, at the office, at the park. You never know who needs to hear the kind words you have to share. I know I will never forget the woman in the Schnucks' produce aisle who gave me the confidence boost I so need. I guarantee if you give the compliment, you won't regret it.