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Over the last couple years, I’ve realized I have a way of letting nice compliments, or compliments given with good intention, hurt me. I don’t mean backhanded compliments (though I guess they too can fit the scenario), but genuinely nice compliments on my appearance like “You look nice!”

I become saddened, because these compliments mainly came when I threw a bit of make up on my face (which I rarely do), or when I wore something “cute” which usually equated to something more fitting, or something more “womanly” like high heels and things of the sort. The compliments almost never came when I was in my simple everyday attire (ie. My natural/”not requiring much work“ look). I didn’t take my sadness much as a low self-esteem issue, because I didn’t so much have a desire to look like someone else, but rather I had the desire for people to see the regular me as beautiful. Here are some things I have been able to meditate on:

The Power of the Tongue
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).
This scripture explains it best—our words are incredibly powerful, and whether we know it or not, it can have a tremendous impact on someone’s life. Compliments can be incredibly encouraging, and very appreciated, but compliments (surprisingly enough) can also hurt. Of course, we mean no harm when we give them, but we must realize constantly praising one thing can be interpreted as not appreciating the other/opposite thing. Because of this, I’ve been more mindful of my words, considering their possible impacts, and more equal with my praises.

Seeking Acceptance
At the heart of compliments is the desire for acceptance and, subsequently, “approval.” I wanted people to consider me beautiful, and I wanted someone to point it out. I wanted someone to see me how I saw myself. Humans deep down have an innate desire of full acceptance. The truth is that level of acceptance is only found in Christ. Whether or not someone points it out, we should be rest assured in the fact that we are absolutely beautiful to God, for he made us in his image (Genesis 1:27).

“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure” (Psalm 16:5).

What About God?
As I contemplated why these compliments hurt me, it hit me that I do the same to God. How many times do we only praise God when he’s nothing, but good or when our lives are all made up? We tend to praise him when something awesome and big happens in our lives, when we get what we desire, and when everything is all peaches and cream. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says that we should give God thanks in everything!

How many times have I failed to recognize God’s beauty in the little, or everyday things? Just like the desire for people to recognize beauty in my everyday look, I too should seek to see God’s beauty in the everyday. I should give him glory when I wake up, see his beauty when I look up at the sky, see his beauty when in the rain, in a smile, and in all the other manifestations of his presence that I miss in my daily routine.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him” (Psalm 8:1-4).


Photo credit: Marcus-Blaque via / CC BY-NC-ND

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