Guest blogger, Michelle Gillette is here to chat about love, life and a compliment.
Michelle Gillette is a 4x Certified Brain Health coach, a Functional Medicine Coach, a Certified Life Coach, a wife and a mother of two teens and a 50+ Lifestyle Model. (She’s also a recovering perfectionist who has learned to balance her self-deprecating humor with gratitude, self-love and even an occasional “atta-girl.”) She’s a fan of results-driven clean beauty, and a big proponent for the benefits of self-care. As an avid Saranghae aficionado, she loves utilizing her 5-step skincare routine as an opportunity to slow down and show her busy face some healthy, tender-loving-care.
“Thank you.” It’s a complete sentence …unbeknownst to millions of people who cannot take a compliment and feel the need to add argumentative addendum’s.
Maybe you are one of them. Has anyone ever complimented you on your appearance, but instead of replying with a heartfelt “Thank you” …you gave a “Thanks, but?”
“Thanks-buts” are those negating, often self-deprecating gems that we use to deflect attention from ourselves.
As in, “Thanks, but…you must be blind. My hair’s a mess, I need to get to the hairdresser, I’m starting to look like Chewbacca! With roots!”
“Thanks, but” I just came from yoga and I still haven’t lost that last 5 pounds so I haven’t shopped for new workout gear so that’s why I am wearing these old yoga clothes ….but they’re the only ones that don’t make me look and feel like a sausage, so I basically live in them. But ….thank you? All in one breath so that they don’t dare interrupt your I-can’t-take-a-compliment-soliloquy.
If you’re super-confident at all times and never engage in this behavior then instead of reading this, please spend the time to go thank your parents. This is for those of us who have spent tons of time, energy and money trying to look good, but then when we do and someone says so— we argue with them. And sometimes we win the argument. (But really, we lose.)
So, what is it that makes us devote so much time, money and thought to our physique, outfits, skin, hair, and make-up but then when someone actually appreciates it we argue with them and suggest they need cataracts surgery? (Guilty.) How can we have no problem doing a luxurious 5-step beauty regimen steeped in self-care, using only the best ingredients on the market (….AND we drink the lemon water, do the nails, the hair- masks, get the artful blow-outs, etc.) but then when someone says “Wow! You look great!” we immediately deflect or turn into Sherlock Holmes wondering “Wait…What are they really after?”
Without psychoanalyzing the masses, I’d like to suggest that one of the many reasons we may have a hard time buying into genuine compliments and accepting them with gratitude and grace, is this: our perfectionism gets in the way of our self-appreciation. We see WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE IMPROVED much more clearly than we see what is already wonderful, worthy, beautiful, functional or even just plain old adequate.
This taps into what Carol Dweck, author of the book MINDSET, might refer to as a Fixed Mindset vs. a Growth Mindset: We can have a fixed idea in our mind about exactly who/how/what we should look like, and anything short of that is an instant fail…. or in this case, a “thanks, but.”
Example: If Heidi Klum got a pimple, it would not make her un-beautiful in our eyes. Yet, we can get a hormonal blemish on our own face and determine that our mug is unsuitable for human viewing so “maybe now would be a good time to hunker down in the house and finally write that book.” A growth mindset, on the other hand, encourages us to love and appreciate ourselves for being enough as is, right now. It allows us to notice and be grateful for what IS working, and to appreciate all those the efforts we make along our journey. It makes the imperfect, perfectly acceptable because imperfection is a normal part of nature and simply part of just being human. A growth mindset makes our “good skin days” a wonderful thing to celebrate vs. a requirement for entry into the “enough club”. On a bad skin day, it might say “Not my ideal look, but at least I know my skincare regimen is healthy, clean and nurturing. So I wonder if I ate something to spur this on, or I wonder what’s going on with my hormones?” Vs. an automatic “Retreat! Scurry into the cloak of darkness! I have failed at beauty and must hide the evidence!”
If you don’t believe that it’s possible to be “flawed” and beautiful at the same time, I ask you to think of someone you absolutely love and adore. For me, my go-to example of choice is my beloved Grandma. She was the most gorgeous soul I’d ever met. Her energy was pure love and her laugh so warm and inviting it could fill a windowless room with sunshine, bird chirps and illuminated sparkle-dust. She was, in my mind, the most beautiful person on the planet, and her face was the one I most wanted to see each day. She also happened to look like Mrs. Doubtfire.
And that is how true beauty works: It transcends the limitations of the earth-suit, social ideologies about aging, what is “in”, “out” or otherwise unimportant. True beauty is not determined by the teen-aged models on the cover of Vogue magazine, what size clothes a person fits into, or whether or not they wear 70’s owl glasses and a “helmet hair-do” set with Aqua Net. True beauty is determined by a person’s energy, light, connect and the types of values that cannot be described by mere words or a photo shoot. Real beauty can imprint into people’s hearts and be felt in a room, across borders, across time and throughout generations.
Can it be that you might possess that type of beauty too? EVEN on the days that you <gasp> missed a belt loop, or you’re wearing last year’s yoga pants? Is it possible that sometimes people see in you attributes that you may not take the time to see in yourself? Is it possible that someone might notice that the workouts you’ve been doing diligently (for years now!) might actually be working? Could it be that your eyes sparkle when you talk about a loved one, our that your skin glows when you get out into nature, flushing from the clean air and circulation? Or that you might be benefiting from all that healthy eating and your salubrious skincare routine that you so carefully selected? Could it be that they notice how your smile brightens up a room like an oral headlamp and that your laugh sends warm vibrations through the atmosphere that makes them want to be near you? Or that your intelligence inspires them and they love to hear and watch you talk so passionately?
So, as funny and cute as self-deprecation can be at times (I mean really, some of the best comedians laugh at themselves more than at anyone else!) hedging it with more appreciation and gratitude may be in order when it comes to seeing ourselves for our own true beauty, inside and out.
And when we do that…perhaps a genuine compliment might not be so hard to accept. Why? Because it will sound and feel like truth.
Here is one easy, free self-care habit that can help us make self-love and grateful thoughts part of our daily ritual:
Pick one body part per day and set a specific time to appreciate it each morning.
Example: If it’s your arms that you’ve been complaining about because you feel they look flapjacky in a shift dress— then start there.
Come up with 3 reasons why you GENUINELY feel so grateful to have these two functional arms.
If it were me, it would be in the morning while I brush my fangs (I mean teeth. #workinprogress) My self-talk would sound something like this: These two arms are wonderful because they have held my sweet babies and bear-hugged all of my most beloved, essential people– which have been some of the best moments in my life! These arms are gorgeous because they move, wave hello and help me express myself when I talk, write and do the YMCA dance. These arms are strong and have served me so well in this lifetime— from doing handstands, cartwheels, push-ups to steering my Big Wheel down the driveway. From grocery carrying to self-defense to those strokes in the ocean that saved my life when the waves were too big. Thank God for these two strong, functional arms!
What part of you deserves some love to today?
When we use a gratitude practice and rewire our brain to think in this more appreciative way we form new neural pathways, and we have an opportunity to crowd out the automatic negative thoughts. When we attach this practice to an already existing daily habit, like brushing our teeth or washing our face, we increase our odds of making the ritual (and benefits) stick. If you start to make self-compassion and self-love an additional part of your self-care, you can literally change your brain and improve your outlook.
Perhaps over time, you will start to buy into the truth. And the truth is this: You are enough. Right now, as is. In fact, you are more than enough…….. You are BEAUTIFUL!
No “Thanks, buts” about it!
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