Compliments. We all give them. We all get them. And if you’re anything like me, then you have no idea what to do with one when you get it. There’s the shy, uncomfortable giggle with the “aww, thanks.” That’s usually what people get in response when they give me a compliment. Sometimes I’m really feeling the compliment and I’m all like “thanks so much for noticing” and whatnot. And wow, that just sounded super sarcastic when I read it without inflection. Haha. What I meant for that to sound like was like a confident person getting a compliment about and ability they have or their look and they basically, and without being rude, sincerely thank the person for taking the time to take note of something they already knew about themselves. I hope that came across right.
Anyway! I want to talk about compliments today. A few weeks ago, I rejoined 24 Hour Fitness. I had recently severely sprained my ankle with a side of distal aclusion (fancy way to say fracture). My doctor said NO to running. But he said YES to swimming. He did also say yes to the stationary bike, but I opted to stay away from that because 1) stationary programmable bike seats are super awkward for me and 2) if I’m going to be cycling I’d much rather be outdoors on my bike or in a high paced spin class. So, anyway, my doc said I can swim all I want. As a member at Planet Fitness, I had no access to a lap pool. 24 Hour Fitness has lap pools.
On top of not being able to run, pretty much all of the lower body weight machines are now off limits as well. So I need more creative ways to get a lower body workout. I also needed more creative ways to mix up my upper body workouts as those were going to be the majority of what my strength training sessions at the gym were going to revolve around. I know that doing the exact same workout every single time you workout is a recipe for injury. Dude, I’m already injured, I don’t need to exacerbate that with an overuse injury because I’m doing the same gym workout 3-4 times a week. Another plus in 24 Hour Fitness’ favor. They have a personal training area that includes all sorts of goodies like exercise balls, medicine balls, TRX straps, ropes, kettlebells, balance pads, jump boxes and so much more. While I obviously cannot use the balance pads and jump boxes at the moment, I can full-well use all of the others!
Anyway, totally off track there. With my new membership at 24 HR I got a free consultation with one of the trainer admin guys. He wanted to talk to me about what my goals are, what I’m currently doing, what I’m willing to do to reach my goals, and so on. We talked for a little bit. A little bit of a back up here, I had arrived the gym ahead of my appointment with him and done my workout in the personal training area of the gym. So, while Jeff and I were talking, he called one of the female trainers in the cubicle (I wish I could remember her name) and introduced us. She had literally just watched me workout that morning. She was on one of the machines and I was flipping the ropes. She told me she was very impressed with my ability and motivation to still be working out while wearing a walking boot.
A little bit further into the conversation, Jeff tells me that he can see I’m basically kicking ass and not worrying about taking names when it comes to working out and hitting my goals. He proceeds to tell me that, in his opinion, he sees me as a “top athlete” and then immediately compares me to a race car that just needs a little fine tuning. WOW! I mean, seriously, wow. How do you respond to something like that?!?!?! I did my best to accept that compliment graciously and without pomp. I was genuinely flattered that someone would think so highly of me and my abilities.
We had already discussed purchasing a personal training package. And I had told him that due to my injury I wasn’t allowed to work overtime and therefore had no extra money for the near future. Not that he had been even remotely pushy about me purchasing a package, but he got even less so. He switched gears and just said, “well, when you’re ready, I’m sure we’ll be having some sort of special on personal training packages and we can hook you up with a discount deal.” I liked that. He went on to tell me that if I did purchase a package later down the road that he wanted to pair me with a trainer named Colton. In Jeff’s opinion, Colton is the most kickass and hardworking trainers in the gym. Meaning that he would push me further than any of the other trainers would be able to. I had seen Colton putting one of his clients through a workout while I was doing my workout that morning and saw a few exercises that I wanted to remember for after I got out of the boot (a burpee paired with flipping the ropes is the main one I want to try). I was impressed.
Jeff managed to snag Colton as he walked past the cubicle and introduced me to him. Needless to say, I will probably purchase a 5 session package when I have the extra money and sign up to work with Colton for my sessions. I’m very excited to work with him and see what he can do with me and what exercises he’ll have me doing.
Okay, wow, I’m a genius at getting sidetracked, aren’t I? Back to the compliments Jeff gave me. Top athlete? While I sincerely appreciate him saying that about me and I actually believe he truly meant it when he said it, I don’t consider myself a top athlete. I do believe I have the POTENTIAL to be a top athlete. There are plenty of other ladies that I’ve seen in the gym that are more along the lines of being actual top athletes. I know in the past I have been more in a peak position athletically than I am right now. I am seriously trying to work at getting somewhat back to that position. And then the “race car that just needs some fine tuning” compliment. I can sort of agree with that. I mean. I think I need more than just “some” fine tuning. I think I need a little more than that.
But, this post is supposed to be about what do you do with a compliment, not how do you deconstruct it. Haha. While it did cross my mind that Jeff was just feeding me fluff with his compliments, I also am pretty sure he actually at least mostly meant what he said. When someone gives me a compliment, I try my best to take it with grace and appreciation. I don’t want to get a compliment that I find completely absurd, but that the person genuinely means and laugh loudly in their face or say something else just as rude and then I’ve beyond hurt their feelings. So, my best answer for how to accept a compliment is with grace and appreciation. Try to see and understand what made the person give you the compliment and see if you can agree with their viewpoint. You might just learn something about yourself and gain a little self-confidence in the process!
But, what to do when the compliments are counterproductive to what you’re trying to do with your life. For instance, you’ve decided you want to lose weight. You’re not super overweight, but could stand to lose 20 or so pounds. Your friends, coworkers and family all say “oh but you look great! You don’t need to lose weight!” And then there’s the snide “lose weight? From where?” comments that some people like to hand out. These are a little more difficult to deal with. You want to dismiss these but you don’t want to be rude about it, unless of course the person is insistent and keeps repeating them after you’ve explained your viewpoint on things.
My first response when I get the “but you already look great” compliment is “you don’t see me naked.” This really takes people back a few feet. They really don’t know what to say when you say that. That’s not what they expected you to say. They expected you to say “thanks!” But, let me tell you something, after being on the weight loss wagon for over 4 years, I’ve heard that so many times and I’m super tired of hearing it. I just want to say to them “look, I know you mean well, but you’re not me.”
Because of this, I have consciously made the effort to stop myself from doling out those kinds of compliments to others. Because it’s true. Just because they look like they don’t need to lose another 10 or whatever pounds to ME doesn’t mean that they don’t believe that they do need to reach that goal. Let’s put this in a little perspective. When I started this journey, I weight about 260. I wanted to lose 90-100 pounds. I’m currently at just over 80 pounds lost. While I look great compared to how I looked at 260, my journey isn’t over yet. I haven’t reached the finish line of my goals yet. For you race car fans, would your favorite driver do the Indy 500 just to stop at lap 475 and say “I think this is good”??? No, I didn’t think so. They have a goal to drive the 500 laps and cross the finish line and get to hold the checkered flag for a victory lap. Just because I had a goal to lose at least 90 pounds doesn’t mean I’m going to stop at 82 pounds lost and be all like, “close enough.” And you or anyone else saying that 82 pounds is “close enough” and that I “look great already” doesn’t make it good enough. Not for me. I want to cross that 90 pounds lost mark and stay there.
So, some compliments are fairly easy to deal with. You are just gracious and appreciative of what the person says. Maybe you even agree with them! That will make it way easier! But then there’s the unintentional backhanded compliments that don’t help you in any way. I see these kind of compliments as the other person isn’t sure what to say, but they want to say something nice. So, you still shouldn’t be rude to them about them, even if you find this kind of compliment to be disrespectful to you (which it is, but they may not have meant it that way). So, some compliments are trickier than others. Feel free to comment below with compliments you’ve received and how you dealt with them.