Compliments. They seem to simple to accept, right? Yes, they can be but what happens after PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury? For me it’s confusing to get compliments. I have to work hard to understand what they are and to attempt to figure out the intention behind them. What I remember about compliments is they often are concealed behind a facade of attempting to ‘groom’ others. Compliments make a person uncomfortable. Okay, so what?
Saying compliments right off the bat to someone is often about an attempt to cause imbalance. Then it’s the backhanded non compliment of ‘oh you aren’t used to compliments.’ or maybe it’s ‘Don’t you think you’re beautiful?” Intending it mean something other that what it seems and it is NOT a compliment.
So why talk about compliments today?
Good question. I’ve put myself firmly back into the public eye, firmly in the public’s view and along with this comes the ‘compliment trolls’ as I call them. They throw out these compliments from a place of not really understanding that people online are real people. We’re not there for their entertainment, or to gain monetarily from their attention. The idea of throwing out compliments is to lead us somewhere quite uncomfortable. My curse is knowing the end game of the ‘compliment’ game. It’s not what you think it is.
I know that I am as beautiful as I believe myself to be. I am still a good person in spite of living with PTSD and in spite of the Traumatic Brain Injury. These things combined can often strike me off balance in the arena of compliments as I honestly just don’t understand the point. I’ve practiced for some time saying compliments to others. As time has gone by they begin to have meaning to me so if I say to someone “You’re beautiful” it comes from a place of honesty. My intention is to honor the fact that I find them beautiful inside where it counts.
As today is World Kindness Day, as I was told. My first thought was why do I need a day to be reminded to be kind to others? Shouldn’t this be a given? And I remembered that it’s not about me at all, it IS about others who need this reminder. Being kind is something we can learn to do, can learn to practice and being kind can become part of the person that we are.
My PTSD caused me to become a person who did not give out compliments, was hostile about compliments sent my way. Life beyond PTSD after a lot of therapy, going on 2 years now, is helping me to be the better, good person I used to be before PTSD. I would argue I’m a better person now with a huge gain in perspective.
So complimentary kindness is not a bad thing.
For today, go out and honestly, from deep within your soul compliment someone. Be specific because you never know what other’s struggle might be and that honest compliment? It could mean everything to them.
-Daily Topic Scope on Periscope, Blog Post for LifeBeyondPTSD.wordpress.com, Blog Post on USFRA.org