Imagine the 1st Thanksgiving: the Pilgrims and the Natives sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and the Pilgrims are like “Wow, this corn is really great!” And Squanto (of the Wampanoag Natives ) is like, “Thanks, but it’s not our best,” and then he points out every weird kernel of corn and the days they felt they failed to tending to the crop, etc. We know that’s NOT how history went down–especially knowing the struggles that led up to this day of celebration of a successful and plentiful harvest!
Forgive us for over-generalizing the 1st Thanksgiving–but take that scenario and apply it to when we’re paid a compliment today relating to the changes we’ve undergone after months of work (struggle) we’ve put into making a healthier lifestyle for ourselves. Someone NOTICES, and we do this:
Sweet Friend: “You look great!!”
Me: (*instant guilt*) “Thanks, but…” (add in any of the following negative follow ups)
“I ate SO bad this weekend!”
“I barely worked out this week!”
“I’m nowhere near where I want to be. Just look at my arms.” *jiggles under bicep for emphasis*
“or my stomach” *pokes it out as if simulating 9th month of pregnancy*
“or my double chin” *dramatically tucks chin to neck and for reasons unknown, lowers voice too*
….You get the picture. The question is: Why do we do this??
Maybe we think we’ll come across as cocky. We get it. We’ve heard the stories over the years of people “changing” after they lose weight or get in shape–people say they’re stuck up/full of themselves and we don’t want to be that person! True friends won’t say that about you. True friends recognize the confidence and feeling of accomplishment that you’re experiencing and they’re complimenting you to reinforce that. It’s ok to accept it!
It’s OK to be proud of your progress!
Maybe we feel like we don’t measure up to what we perceive as compliment worthy. Pretty deep stuff divas—we’re talking about self worth here. Remember, the only person we aim to be better than is the person we were yesterday.
Speaking of measuring, maybe the way we measure our progress needs an upgrade. The scale is 1 measure of progress, and we honestly feel like it’s a fairly lousy one when you’re consistently active. Some other very effective ways to measure progress:
- Get out the measuring tape–Muscle takes up 1/3 less space than fat, so if the scale isn’t budging, it doesn’t mean your waistline isn’t! You may lose inches before pounds.
- Before/After Pictures–You don’t have to show them off–but they are incredibly insightful. You’d be surprised at how you’re actually toning out and shrinking from the pictures. They give a new perspective of your progress that’s actually very rewarding!
- Go for a checkup–Blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol levels are just a few MAJOR indicators of where you stand health-wise. Your doctor will be able to tell you where you’ve improved, and that’s always nice validation.
Another theory, maybe we take our progress for granted. We haven’t really taken a step back to inventory everything that has changed. Go back to Day 1 and compare what you could or couldn’t do then to what you can do today. Can you lift more weight? Run longer? Faster? Do things you couldn’t do at all before?
We say all of this to say we bust our butts (sometimes even literally) to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In theory, someone paying us a compliment would be a source of validation that our hard work is paying off, right? Yet we focus on the times we “misbehaved” or fell short of our goals instead of looking at the 90% of the things we did well!
So we’ve got a unique challenge going forward—especially in this month of Thanksgiving! The challenge to you (and ourselves) is simple: End the sentence after you say the words “thank you.” If you must say more, make it positive! “Thank you, I’ve been working really hard!” Accept the praise and feel good about it—all that work really IS paying off!! Own it!!