I used to be the worst at accepting compliments. When one came my way, especially from a guy, I went into deflect mode. Adrenaline started pumping, I got nervous, and I babbled some sort of nonsense. “Oh, thank you, but, I’m not that beautiful.” “Oh, thank you, but I need to lose a couple pounds.” “Oh, thank you, it must be this outfit.”
It was the same fight-or-flight reaction I would have facing an attack. Fight – I would deflect the “blow” and try to shift the conversation. Flight – I would blush and try to hide.
But what attack? It was just a compliment! It should be the opposite of an attack!
I realized that it felt like an attack because it was an assault on one of my core beliefs about myself – the belief that I was ugly, the belief that I was not worthy of positive attention from a guy. I could not accept someone else’s positive view about me because I did not have a positive view of myself.
The same applied when it came to my relationship with God. I could read the verses that God saw me as beautiful, that He loved me, but I did not believe it in my heart. I passed quickly over them and straight to the parts about what I should do to win His love. I struggled to see God as loving me for me because I did not see myself as worthy of His love.
This failure to believe hurt my relationships with both men and God. It was impossible for me to have a positive relationship with either when I did not believe or trust that they truly valued me.
So how did I break the pattern?
First, I had to retrain myself to accept the compliment without instantly negating it. With men, I trained myself to simply say, “Thank you” and nothing more. With God, I didn’t just read over the verse, I forced myself to stop and actually dwell on the verse and meditate on it in my heart. I had to learn to trust both men and God that they were telling me the truth. I may not have believed it about myself, but I had to accept that they honestly saw me as beautiful.
Second, I had to work on my own beliefs about myself. I had to learn to value myself and to see the beauty in myself. I have always been confident when it comes to academics and work, but I struggled when it came to a personal relationship. So I had to focus on seeing my beauty and value not just professionally, but as a woman.
What about you? Do you know your value? Do you know that you’re worthy of love just as you are? Do you believe people when they compliment you? Do you believe the verses about God’s love for you?
I will post some verses below and I encourage you to not just read them, but really place them in your heart. Write them on your mirror so you see them in the morning. Place post-it notes around your car or office or home. Save the verses as your screen saver so you see it every time you use your computer. Surround yourself with the truth of God’s love and really work on believing it. Because you’re worth it!
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalm 139:13-16
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. – Isaiah 43:4