“I really like your hair,” said Beth, the woman working the grocery checkout, and I did not know what to say.
All Summer long (truthfully, all life long), my hair has been my nemesis. I’ve bought products, scoured hair-care websites using the search terms ‘frizz’, ‘curly’ and ‘help’. I’ve ‘plomped’, deep-conditioned, dried with a t-shirt, and cut most of it off. Some days my hair responds well and on others, it looks like a scouring pad or a frizzy football helmet, and I have no idea why. I’ve been ready to throw in the towel, so to speak, and finally get the keratin treatment that some say is a cure-all, but I’ve heard that line before about so many other products and methods, so I was still stuck in frizzy hair limbo when I heard Beth say she really liked my hair.
My first inclination was to ask how it was that an obviously blind person got a job working the register, but what I did say was, “Oh, thank you! You’re very kind, but it’s a mess.” And I went on, listing the products, and the methods, and she commiserated, as one of the curly-wavy-frizzy haired tribe herself, when all of a sudden we heard a voice. It was Fred, the older gentleman who was bagging my groceries, and he interrupted our litany with a lesson.
He said, “If a woman goes to the beauty parlor, she leaves there and expects a compliment within a few minutes of leaving the door. But if a woman wakes up, and combs her hair, and she looks beautiful, she’ll never believe you when you say that. I don’t know why that is.”
Fred was speaking truth to us right there in the grocery store line and Beth and I knew wisdom when we heard it. We agreed, as women it is so hard to hear and accept positive words about ourselves.
It’s funny, just this morning, I encouraged my daughter to use her last week at camp for positivity – to tell people directly how much they’ve meant to her, to be specific about what good traits she’s noticed, to spread love and compliments, and to let that be her lasting legacy of her beloved camp… to let caring and kindness be the fruit that lasts.
And yet, not yet an hour later, I found it totally impossible to receive even one compliment about myself.
Ladies (and gentlemen, too), maybe you’re like me, and you find it way easier to give praise than receive it. In that case, may I encourage you today to accept compliments and to really take them in. We are seen, known, and loved, but we question it all the time, and so it’s good to hear positive words and to let them become part of our story. We need to do that. I promised Fred I would work on it, and I hope you will, too.
PS- Comment on, or ‘like’ this story here or on Facebook and I will send you a genuine, original compliment, totally tailored to wonderful YOU. The only catch: you must accept it.