I don't usually do this, but I'm going to brag a bit. Wait, I don't usually do this, do I? If I do, be sure to write and put me in my place. But gently, please because, oh well wait, you'll see why. Anyway, where was I?
Oh, I wanted to brag about a quality I have that I think is a goodie: I am generous with compliments.
And I don't mean those fake compliments designed to flatter people - they are the pits, by the way, like what do you think I am? Stupid! No, I'm talking about actually saying the nice things I think about people OUT LOUD when they pop into my head.
I think I got it from my grandmother. She navigated the seas of social interaction without an oar, uttering every thought that crossed her mind, without once examining the possible effects on people.
Luckily she was a bona fide sweetie, so 99% of everything that slipped past her non-existent social filter was really kind and heartfelt and she delighted people wherever she went. (I say 99% because obviously people aren't SAINTS and I remember a few instances where her stream-of-consciousness sharing irked or at the very least baffled a few people.)
Now I'm not half as nice as my dear departed gran, but I have made it a mission in my life to not filter compliments. Because we do. And it's not because women are bitchy or that we don't want to see each other succeed or because we're jealous... It's because we're shy.
Okay, and maybe a bit jealous.
But mostly it's the shy part. We're scared that people will throw our compliments back into our faces. And weirdly, this is not a delusional fear. In fact, we're often right. You know the drill:
Person 1: "You look so lovely in that dress."
Person 2: "What? This old thing? It's as old as the hills!"
Person 1: "You have a really tiny waist"
Person 2: "That's only because my ass is so big."
Person 1: "That was an excellent presentation."
Person 2: "Really? I think I sounded so stupid."
Person 1: "That lipstick really suits you."
Person 2: "Nonsense! I look like a clown."
Person 1: "Gosh, you're so funny."
Person 2: "Well you're the only one that thinks so..."
It's wearying, isn't it?
And what does it mean? Are we all batshit crazy?
No. It might look like it, but it's not true. It's simply because a) we're insecure, and b) we're caught in this screwed up double bind that tells us:
You're supposed to look beautiful, but you're not supposed to know it, because then you're a bimbo. You're supposed to excel at your job, but you shouldn't make anyone feel threatened by you because then you're a bitch.
You're supposed to run a household, a family, a love life and a career, but you have to make it look easy, otherwise you’re a martyr.
So what do we do? We bat away compliments like the Proteas on a good ODI, while we refrain from complimenting each other because we don't want to be rebuffed.
Silly eh? Let's stop this nonsense now and praise each other like we want to. And let's accept those lovely nuggets of recognition the way we're supposed to.
Actually, let's start doing it right now. Go out and give compliments to the women around you who deserve them. You'll be amazed at what a difference you can make in someone's life.
And you know what? We'll even throw in a prize for a lucky winner if you share that compliment with us.
Love and credit to you all