Compliments are one of the best and easiest ways to spread some positivite vibes. I’m a big fan of compliments. It doesn’t cost you anything and it can mean so much to someone else! I always try to compliment my friends and family as often as I can to make sure they know how much I care about them.
And yet, not every compliment is the same. The thing is, we often compliment each other on our appearance. And apart from the fact that someone is obviously more than their looks, there’s something else going on:
Compliments often pertain to someone’s weight, and especially to weight loss
“Oh, my! You’ve lost weight! That’s amazing!’
“Wow, you look so slim! Keep it up!”
“You look so good! Did you lose weight?”
We don’t bat an eye if someone compliments another on weight loss. In fact, for a lot of people these compliments are the reason they’ll start another diet.
First of all, let me stress that I believe that people giving compliments like these mean well. They see a change, they interpret it as a positive and hand out a compliment. They have the best of intentions.
But if you ask me, the results are often less than ideal.
Because what do we really say when we compliment someone on their weight loss?
Aren’t we kind of saying: “I like your skinny body better than your bigger body.”
“I think you’re prettier / better now that you’re thinner.”
“You only look good now that you’ve lost some weight.”
I know that when I got compliments like that, I always wondered: “Wait. So didn’t I look good before? And why do I look better now? Is my weight the only determinant in how good I look? These compliments come with the best of intentions but they contribute to the idea that you’re only good enough when you’re thinner. That you’re only pretty enough once you’re thinner. And that the size of your body determines how good you look.
Compliments about weight reinforce the idea that thinner is better.
But there’s something else!
If you compliment someone on their weight loss, you never know what it is that you’re actually complimenting someone with!
You can never know why someone lost weight. I used to get these kinds of compliments a lot when I was fighting a rough battle with an eating disorder. Through these compliments, I got daily congratulations on my eating disorder which was super painful for me.
I was not doing well and was struggling with my body every day. Every compliment about my thinner body felt like a: “Congrats on the ed!” It made me feel that the way my body looked was the most important part of me. More important than how I felt on the inside and how I was doing.
You never know WHY someone lost weight. If you congratulate someone on their weight loss, you might be congratulating them with a very negative experience.
I know people who are struggling with broken hearts, eating disorders or cancer and who keep getting compliments about their thinner bodies. Super painful, right?
You are so much more than what you weigh or how much weight you’ve lost! And a compliment should reflect that!
So, what are some nice compliments?
Luckily there are a lot of ways to compliment someone without talking about their weight or appearance! Check this out:
“Whoah, you’re practically glowing today! That’s so nice to see!’
“I really admire you.”
“You’re such an amazing person.”
“You give the best hugs.”
“I’m so blessed to know you.”
What’s your favourite compliment to receive?