Someone called me “pretty” today.
Ok, they called me “pretty annoying” but I like to focus on the positive.
So funny, right?
My husband found this meme and knew I’d love it.
I laugh every time.
It makes me think of so many things—good jokes usually do—so at the risk of permanently ruining the joke for you, I’m going to unpack it a little in service of getting better at Maintaining Weight Loss.
Anything for the cause :)
I heard Hannah Gadsby, a brilliant Australian Comedian, explain how jokes work.
She notes that a tension has to be created, built and then expertly defused. The generated discomfort gets relieved and we laugh with the release.
[BTW, I highly recommend her show, Nanette, on Netflix. Funny, smart, vulnerable and moving.]
What’s the discomfort in the “pretty” joke?
Two potential tension points: either because you thought it was arrogant of the narrator to tell you she was complimented or because you thought of someone calling you pretty.
How is it defused?
The second line rescues the first—it’s self-deprecating, so we can feel comfortable again. She doesn’t really think that highly of herself—good, just like the rest of us.
Now I’m sad.
Too many of us get uncomfortable when we’re complimented.
The truth is, how you accept a compliment is a direct reflection of how you feel about yourself.
It’s a shortcut to see how we’re doing on the self-acceptance front.
We agree with what we believe.
So if you got dressed up for a party and think you’re looking good, when someone recognizes the fact, you agree. An easy, “thanks” flows from your lips.
But if you struggled to find something to wear and the spanx just aren’t working to your satisfaction, when a genuine compliment comes your way, you’ll be hard pressed to receive it.
It’ll feel wrong, misguided, more like a lie. Even though it isn’t.
The person thought you looked great—but you didn’t.
The better we think about ourselves the better we treat ourselves. We have more compassion and patience for someone we think highly of.
And what does Maintenance need more than anything?
Patience and compassion.
Because Maintenance is decades long and we are human, we need a reliable way to handle the inevitable ups and downs.
A way to navigate challenges big and small.
Patience and compassion make it much, much easier.
Harsh talk and mean punishments don’t work when we want lasting change. Respect yourself so much that you’d never speak to yourself that way again.
The next time someone compliments you, you can genuinely thank them.
Hopefully for the kind reflection but if you’re not there yet, for the reminder to work towards feeling good about yourself.
Thank you indeed.
Sign up now for Dr. Fein's Weekly Ounce of Prevention and it will be delivered to your inbox every Thursday. You will also be privy to any fun things we have planned. Join us!
(I deeply respect your privacy and will not share your info).