I have the most difficult time taking in a compliment. Or a kind word. or just a nod of approval. It’s strange – I hear the words, and I trust the source. I just cannot, for some reason, let the words in. Into my head and my heart. I have to begin the inner dialogue and self-talk. “Why would this source compliment me, or show me positive attention, if I weren’t worthy?” This is always the first question. And I always answer “they haven’t found you out yet, Michelle. You’re doing a great job masking your thoughts. Keep up the good work.” That’s how it pretty much went, whenever I was confronted with positive energy, or kindness. I can’t remember EVER believing a compliment. I was a confident, smart student with a gift for writing that became evident in 7th grade. I continuously received very high marks in school, which always gave me a boost. But really reading or hearing the comments? Not really. I came from a mom who, after reading the A- grade, asked why it wasn’t an A+? I was never really good enough. Enter the world of eating disorders! Phenomenally controlling, getting as close to perfect as possible…I could manage this and take comfort in the rituals and rules. I didn’t really begin to control my weight until high school (16 years old), but the groundwork had already been laid. I became completely consumed by my appearance, and stopped eating meals. It was easy because I was going to work right after school, and my parents assumed I ate at work. I was losing weight, but everyone was saying how great I looked. Again, I didn’t really believe it but allowed myself to feel powerful and strong. It was easy. Being hungry just reminded me I was doing something right! I relished the feeling. It was intoxicating.
BELIEVE THE COMPLIMENTS. BE PROUD OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, SMALL AND LARGE. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND EAT WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY. IT’S OK. YOU NEED IT.