Tag Archives: compliments

can you hear you? we can.

This post has been swirling around in my spirit for the better part of six (!!!) months, but I haven’t really had the real words for it until now. (Actually, even now, I’m not entirely sure I have all the right words. But what I am sure of is that there is becoming increasingly less room in my brain for unimportant things like blog posts so I’ve got to get out whatever loose scraps I can to make room for all those important 90s song lyrics I can’t seem to forget.)

I have this friend whom I dearly adore. She happens to be strikingly beautiful, dangerously talented, wickedly smart, and hilarious. I want to tell you so many other things about her, including her name, but I can’t do that because I’m pretty sure she reads my blog and if she knew I was publicly affirming her in such a way I bet money she would very likely turn fifty shades of burgundy and demand that I remove the post immediately.

And this post is way too important to me for her to do that. So let’s just call this amazing girl Kay.

The thing about Kay is that no matter who you ask — whether they’ve known her for five minutes or her entire life — they’ll all say the same things I just did: that she’s a walking phenom; a force to be reckoned with; someone that transforms the earth from merely a revolving sphere of dusty rock to a beautiful, magical work of art. I’d venture to say that anyone you ask wouldn’t be able to find one, single bad thing to say about Kay.

But here’s the thing: none of us have to say anything bad about her because she says all the bad things about herself.

If you compliment her, she will deflect it. She’ll be the first to tell you she’s worthless. Or ugly. Or something equally wrong.

And it hurts my heart so very badly, not because all those things are untrue, but because to her, they are. 

I’m sure it will come as a surprise to exactly ZERO people when I say this, but Dead Poets Society is one of my all-time favorite movies that I don’t own (DAN WHY DON’T I OWN THIS MOVIE?!?!). One of my favorite quotes from the film comes from the character of John Keating, played by Robin Williams:

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Whether you believe it or not, words have power. They have the power to build us up and they have the power to break us down, either in one fell swoop or in tiny bits and pieces, methodically chipped away over a period of years. And as loud as the words other people say to you can be, the words that come out of your own mouth — bubbling over from whatever is in your heart – are, strictly from a physical standpoint, the loudest ones. 

shh

The season of Lent began yesterday and, as you all know, I love to fast things for Lent — my hair straightener, all liquids except water, fried foods, the list goes on and on. But this year, I chose to fast something less tangible.

Words. 

Not cuss words, mind you. But certain words that I can’t write here on this blog. Words that, when strung together in lengthy, negative diatribes, damage my spirit. Words that break me down bit by bit. Words that change my world but not for the better. Words that, when flying out of my mouth, are the loudest in my own ears.

I hate hearing all the things Kay says about herself. It is heartbreaking and infuriating. But even more than that, I hate that she hears them. Because in this screwed up world, there are enough people who can say crappy things about ourselves. Why must we give them fuel for their fire?

I can hear you, Kay. Can you? Can you hear you? If so, could you stop talking about yourself for one minute and let me talk about you? And let me talk about how you know how to make anyone laugh. Let me talk about how you sing so beautifully it gives my goosebumps goosebumps. And let me talk about how you’re so stinking smart and capable and can do literally whatever you set your mind to.

I can hear me. Can you?

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friday favorite: outfit.

You know, I don’t have a lot of fashion sense. I typically recycle the same five tee-shirt-jeans-flip-flops-or-holey-sneakers outfits each week. But today, I feel like I kind of pulled something together. Something that’s actually kind of, like, feminine.

 

Blue cami, brown cardigan, dark skinny jeans, brown Sperry’s. It’s not frequent, but every once in a while, I nail it.

Tune in tomorrow for your regularly scheduled fashion disaster.

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friday favorite: my eyes.

Welcome to the first installment of an indefinitely long self-love blog series called friday favorites. Each Friday, I’ll post a blog highlighting something about myself I really dig as an act of self-love discipline.

And so, without further ado, this week’s favorite is my eyes. 

Pretty much everyone on my mom’s side of the family has blue eyes. Blonde hair, too. There’s no denying the European influence in our genes. But our eyes, and I guess mine for the sake of this blog, are especially rad. Not only are they cool because they’re a pretty color (not unlike the sky or ocean!) but they’re recessive. So that means that, eventually, they won’t exist anymore. People with eyes like mine will be just as mythical as unicorns. I love that! (By the way, I’m working off of the assumption that unicorns DID exist at one point, so don’t try to refute that with your “facts” and “science”.)

I’m practically a unicorn!

While I was pregnant, Dan kept praying that our son would get my eyes. Because of their unicorn-like tendencies, and Dan’s dominant brown eyes, I was skeptical. All babies are born with blue eyes, so for the time being, Dan’s prayer has  been answered. So that’s another reason I love my eyes — because I can see them in my son.

However, a good friend of ours was so bold as to say that, based on the shade of blue they are now, she thinks Dax’s eyes will stay blue like mine! What do you think?

Gotta be honest. I hope so!

Okay, now here’s the part where you chime in. Because I’m not doing this alone, y’all. What’s your favorite thing about yourself this week? Comment and tell me!

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introducing: friday favorites!

Can I speak off the cuff for a second? (Psh. Why am I even asking? This is my blog, you guys. I do what I want.)

I’ve been pretty aware of all the ways I suck lately. Mostly, over the past week. I guess that makes sense, what with me going back to work and wrestling with what that means as far as my contribution to my home and family. It stands to reason, I suppose, that in this time of transition I might find myself struggling to focus on what is praiseworthy about myself. (Philippians 4:8.)

The truth is, self-love isn’t something you just achieve one day and then bam, you’re all better. I really wish it were that simple, but the reality is that loving yourself in a society that does its damnedest to point out everything that’s wrong with you takes daily discipline. It takes the strength to wake up every single day and look yourself in the mirror and say, “Hey, Self, you’re all right.”

Unfortunately, with everything that’s been going on in my life as of late (you know, having a kid and all) I haven’t really taken care of myself in that respect. Sure, I make sure I eat every day and try to squeeze a shower in here and there (I washed my hair last night, y’all!) but as far as putting forth the effort it takes to truly, honestly, take care of my self-esteem and consequential mental health, I’m falling behind. And it’s starting to wear on me.

An old issue I’ve struggled with in the past has reared its ugly head recently. The issue? Allowing myself to be loved without doing anything. 

I’d thought I’d beat it. I thought that, with the help of this blog and the people with whom I surround myself, I’d finally let that little part of me die. But, since stepping away from all the things I “do” for people in order to focus on my son and my family, I’ve started to feel as though I’m being replaced. Forgotten. Unloved.

While I know that isn’t the case, right now it’s hard to believe it. So, I’ve decided to go ahead and use this blog for what it was originally intended — a tool with which I can learn to love myself daily. I’m going to dust off the old “self-love” warrior training boxing gloves and start a new weekly post series on my blog. I’d like to introduce to you,

lindsay’s friday favorites!

On Fridays, as a discipline, I’m going to post a blog highlighting one thing about myself that I like, that is my “favorite trait” of the week. One thing, I might add, is just ME. Not something I DO. Just something I AM. It may be physical, or not. It may be an item of clothing I bought or a way I did my hair. It might be a book I started reading and the thoughts it provoked within me. I’m not sure yet. But all I know is that I’m going to commit to doing this every Friday to remind myself that I’m valuable just because I am.

I’d like to challenge you, my readers, to do it, too. On my Friday Favorites posts, I want you to comment the things you love about yourself that week. Nothing would make me happier than knowing that my struggles, and the disciplined nature through which I will try to overcome them, might actually be a positive influence in your lives as well.

And so. Starting next Friday, we’re going to do this. We’re going to start to love ourselves, one little blog post at a time.

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things i love thursday! (may 10, 2012)

Happy Thursday! And, because I haven’t said it yet, happy May! I hope you’ve all had a great week. Mine has been filled with blessings. So let’s get right to it!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Not one, but TWO baby showers! If the amount of loot we procured is any indication, our little Dax is already so loved (and spoiled rotten)!
  • Seeing a bunch of friends and family from out of town who drove 4 hours for my shower. Wow. So awesome!
  • TINY BABY THINGS. Especially things with ears and/or pointy heads, footies, and embroidered things sewn on the butts.
  • Getting a sneak peek at some of my friends’ wishes for Dax: I wish you would learn how to ride a bike before your dad. I hope you always laugh at your dad. I hope you have big ears like your dad. (Notice a trend?)
  • FINDING A NEW PLACE TO LIVE! And it’s so cute. I can’t wait to take pictures and show you. We move in this weekend!
  • Having sweet friends come over and help us pack all of our “berks.”
  • Writing in coffee shops, especially coffee shops at which my friends are employed.
  • A “medium” mocha frappe actually being a large. (Friends in high places, I tell you.)
  • Derpy Hooves. Every. Time.
  • Pizza.
  • The Avengers. Holy crap, you guys. I can’t imagine how good it must have been for the people who actually give a darn about the comic books because I LOVED IT.
  • “Hulk Smash Durrenberger.”
  • Robert Downey Jr. I mean, seriously.
  • Cinco de Mayo bible study and party.
  • Virgin margaritas that actually tasted good.
  • Queso.
  • You know, food in general.
  • Being asked to write not one, but two guest posts. (Next one is coming Wednesday… stay tuned!)
  • Reading on the porch.
  • CATS. Especially mine and tiny ones with sorta-broken tails.
  • “Tiiiines, tiiiiiiiiines, tiiiiines.”
  • Actually using Pinterest for wedding planning.
  • Going to church with Mom.
  • Dinner with friends.
  • Deep thoughts and conversations with friends via email.
  • Getting much wanted and needed birth/child rearing advice from good, wise momma friends.
  • Sleepy and snuggly baby Isaiah.
  • “Hey Lindsay… Isn’t cool how I knew it was you without looking?” – Levi is the best.

That’s it for me. What do you love this week?

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things i love thursday! (april 12, 2012)

Wow, have I really not done one of these in weeks? I can’t believe I’ve let my life slip by me without blogging about it!

Oh wait. Yes I can.

Well, don’t worry. It’s not for lack of happy things in my life. It’s just merely been a lack of time and energy. Being six (seriously??! six?!?!) months pregnant will do that to you.

So, without further ado, TILT!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY (possibly this week, but maybe not):

  • Allowing my blog to take a backseat to my life.
  • Instagram for Android! FINALLY! (Follow me @helenlindsay!) Now I won’t be a deadbeat parent who can upload pictures of her child through filters! (I’m only half joking about this.)
  • Getting messages that more of my friends are pregnant!
  • Also, ALL OF THEM ARE HAVING BOYS SO FAR. We’re going to have one motley crew come this fall!
  • Holy week, which made me smile in a reverent way. (Also made me cry a lot but whatevs.)
  • Easter, and being able to spend time among people with whom I feel safe.
  • Blessings from dear friends in our bible study. Seriously, we are not worthy.
  • Good chick-lit.
  • My husband getting a SLAMMIN’ deal on a new car for us after the Jetta’s demise. Now we own TWO Camrys! (Well. One of them we own. The other one Bank of America owns until 60 months from now but hey, we’re driving it.)
  • Finding out about about not one, but TWO baby showers being thrown for us in the same week! What the heck?! How did I go from zero showers to two? My friends/bible study people rule so hard.
  • My 80s prom commercial going semi-viral. If you haven’t seen it, you should watch it because I’m silly.
  • GETTING READY FOR 80S PROM TOMORROW.
  • Side ponytails and spontaneous dance parties.
  • Throwing Chrissie a super fun bridal shower! Tea and crumpets and hats! Yay!
  • Mocha frappes from RedEye.
  • Homemade mint brownies. What?!
  • My husband’s undying support and love throughout the last crazy months.
  • My cats.
  • Oh, which reminds me: Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, is pregnant again. After naming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we have decided to refer to all of Gertrude’s future children simply as, The Players. Hooray for theatre nerds and their uncanny senses of humor. (Read: us.)
  • Touching two giant bodies of water (The Atlantic Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico respectively) in just as many weeks!
  • Fried pickles and hugs from Erica, whom I haven’t seen in YEARS! Just as gorgeous as I remember her, of course.
  • Floating with Emily and having ridiculous but awesome conversations.
  • My cousin and his FIANCEE (!!!) Katie.
  • Somehow comfortably sharing a twin bed with my husband.
  • My best friend.
  • Other people’s blogs.
  • Anniversaries.
  • Cake pops.
  • Music and the ability to make it.
  • New books.
  • Old books.
  • Potlucks.
  • Hearing my friends refer to themselves as my kid’s aunt (makes me think that more people love him than just us).
  • Grace.
  • Hope.
  • Community.
  • Safety.
  • The freedom to be myself.

Okay! That’s it for me this week. Sorry it’s been a while but, hey. Life happens.

What do you love this week?

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ashley judd 1, the media 0.

Image via The Daily Beast

You may have already stumbled across the piece that actress Ashley Judd wrote in response to the media criticizing her “puffy face” and making the public assertion that she’d had “work done.” However, if you haven’t, I highly suggest you take the time to read it. It’s definitely worth it.

While I’m usually the first person to be up in arms over the media saying preposterous, body-policing things like this (much like the recent accusations that Jennifer Lawrence is “too big” to play Katniss Everdeen) I usually forget to even consider how the celebrity in question feels. Even worse than that, sometimes I even find myself flippantly making damning comments like this one. Ugh. Shame on me.

Whether they’re celebrities or not, they’re still people. They’re still living, breathing, human beings, fearfully and wonderfully made, and their looks are not the end-all be-all of their worth.

And for Christ’s sake, just because a woman’s face has changed shape over the years does NOT mean she’s had work done. Unless you consider aging naturally “getting work done” then by all means, STFU.

Read Ashley’s killer response here.

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tuesday tip — finding your sexy when you’re ______.

Disclaimer: So, this is my blog, after all. And this is the stuff I’m currently struggling through. If reading it makes you feel weird, sorry. You don’t have to read it. I won’t be offended.

The other day I came across this fabulous article that pretty much sums up every thing I’ve been struggling with lately as far as body image and self-love goes. If you don’t have time to read it, the title speaks for itself:

Who gets to be sexy? Is it me?

I’ve kind of touched on the subject before here and here but, sadly, I currently don’t feel like I’m one of those people who “gets” to be sexy. My husband and I have had several conversations recently (even creating a document about the mental blocks I have and the steps I need to take to overcome them) to try and get to the root of this problem (including, but not limited to: my past, including my ex who sexually abused me, my history with my eating disorder, etc.) and while these reasons are valid, I’m sick of them.

In my head, I think, I’ve always assumed that once I hit certain self-proclaimed milestones then (and only then) could I “get” to be sexy.

  • When I reach my goal weight.
  • When my face finally stops breaking out.
  • When I can figure out how to apply make up and not look like a circus clown.
  • When I learn how to properly curl my hair.
  • When I…
My husband, who is so sweet and wonderful and always trying to help, brought something to my attention the other day:
Dan: “Did you see the lady in front of us in line at Wal-Mart?”
Me: “No.”
Dan: “Oh. Well. She was at least double your size everywhere and was buying lingerie. I thought that if she could do it, you could, too.”
Under normal circumstances, I would have probably considered the legitimacy of his observation. But because I’m hormonal and crazy, I went home, drew myself a bath, and cried in it for an hour.
It seems like it’s only getting worse for me as I get rounder. This is probably shocking to you, but feeling sexy while pregnant is proving to be almost impossible for me. I know, I know. I didn’t see that one coming, either. Lindsay can’t feel sexy when she’s not pregnant? What do you mean she can’t feel sexy when she is? *Heavy eye roll.*

I’ve been searching for ways to try and rectify this. Really, the only solution I’ve come up with is only letting my husband touch me in the morning when it’s still dark since, at that point, I haven’t spent an entire day staring at my gigantic belly and focusing on how “matronly” and “not-sexy” it is.

But then (of course, while I’m struggling with this) Jessica Simpson (who has been pregnant for roughly three years it feels like) comes out totally butt naked on the cover of Elle like she owns the joint. And my husband goes ahead and says that it’s sexy.

Ugh. 

Okay, world. I get it. It’s possible to be sexy while overweight. And it’s possible to be sexy while pregnant. So why am I still completely lacking in this department?

Oh that’s right — because the problem isn’t my body; it’s my mind.

TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: FINDING YOUR SEXY WHEN YOU’RE ______.

I know not all of you are pregnant. And I know that not all of you struggle with “sexiness” in particular. But maybe it’s confidence. Maybe it’s spark. Maybe it’s being outgoing. But, if you’re like me, and you have this little part inside you that, for whatever reason, can’t come out because you’re currently _____ (fill in the blank for whatever that is: pregnant, over your goal weight, not making enough money, whatever) I’m here to tell you that your circumstance is not your problem.

It’s your mind.

I don’t have all the answers on how to change your mind (because if I did, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t have this blog) but here are some things that have worked for me so far:

1. be intentional.

Make an effort. When you think to yourself that you can’t be sexy, just think immediately afterwards, “That’s not true. I can be and am sexy.” It will be awkward and weird at first. But be intentional about it.

2. be persistent.

You can’t change your paradigm overnight. It will take some time. Commit to it because, in the end, it will be so worth it (or so I think).

3. be patient.

With yourself! Know that some days, you’ll be on fire. You’ll be a sex goddess, even! But know that, even still, there will be some days when you feel frumpy and gross and some innocent Wal-Mart shopper is gonna show up at the register with cute lingerie and make you cry in a bathtub and you’re just going to have to let that be okay.

What is your “sexy” that you’re striving toward? Please don’t say I’m alone in this!

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the importance of receiving compliments.

After Molly’s incredible piece on the importance of unusual compliments, I’ve been thinking about what compliments look like in my daily life. I try to say something nice to everyone I encounter in a day, and I don’t mean in a “I need to check off my compliment quota for the day” way, but in a “I genuinely like X about Y person” way. You know, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good at giving unique compliments. I really do love people and I love that they’re different from me and I love to point out all the things I love about those people. Words of affirmation is my love language so I really get life out of expressing in words the things I appreciate about others.

However, there’s one small problem with this. I can give compliments all day, but I am absolutely dreadful at receiving compliments.

Is it just me? Or are you like this, too?

Friend: Oh, Lindsay, I love that shirt on you!
Me: Ew, really? I’ve had it for like, five years. There’s a giant stain on it. Gross.

Friend: Lindsay I love your hair today!
Me: Ugh, I slept all weird on it so I’ve been fighting with it all day.

Friend: Lindsay, you’re so fun to be around!
Me: Psh, you wouldn’t say that if you lived with me.

Somewhere along the line of my life I mistakenly began to assume that shooting down compliments was a way for me to appear humble and that gracefully accepting compliments was a way for me to look conceited and selfish.

But let’s break this down for a second. How would you feel if you were the friend in that scenario? Would you feel like I was being humble and sweet, or would you feel as though I was being completely self-absorbed by dismissing you and your opinion of me?

Source: Magh

A year or so ago I was in a women’s bible study small group and one of the ladies brought this up. She told a story about someone who always shot down compliments from her and it made her feel so insignificant. Naturally, she got angry, and stopped complimenting this person. Before she shared her story, I had never considered what other people thought when I’d refuse compliments. In my mind, I was being humble and right, so I didn’t really need to give the subject much thought. Upon hearing this woman’s story, I stopped and thought about how I would feel if someone did the same thing to me. I realized I would feel insulted. Wronged. Ignored. I would feel as though whomever I’d complimented assumed that I had no wits about me and that my words of affirmation meant nothing to them.

Ouch.

She summed up her testimony and really drove the point home when she said, “Ladies are polite; ladies say thank you.”

Be polite. Say thank you.

Source: Daniel Slaughter

As a woman of faith, I believe God does things in our lives each and every day to teach us and make us better. The woman in my bible study was definitely an example of that for me. But, of course, God doesn’t stop there. This morning, when I sat down to start writing this post about the importance of receiving compliments, my little Gmail tab lit up indicating a new message. It was one from my pastor. He said this:

I wanted to tell you how proud I was of you…

My skin began to crawl as I read the rest of his kind words. At the end of the email, I started to reply with something along the lines of, “Well, I’m still a big old mess and-” [backspacebackspacebackspace] “I’m nowhere near where I need to be-” [backspacebackspacebackspace] “That’s really nice of you but I’m-” [backspacebackspacebackspace]…

Then I remembered the blog post draft I had open in another Firefox tab.

The importance of receiving compliments.

Be polite.

My eyes filled with tears as I sheepishly, and truly humbly, typed a small and desperate, “Thank you.

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the importance of unusual compliments — guest post by molly ford

Molly Ford is a writer living in New York City. She has captured my heart as the brilliance behind one of my favorite blogs, Smart Pretty and Awkward. As someone who has always made ridiculous strides to be prettier, smarter, and less awkward, I’ve found help (and hope!) in each of Molly’s adorable SPA blog posts over time. She also appreciates Diet Coke just like myself. So make sure to check out SPA after you read her guest post on FBDC!

You’re pretty. I like your dress. I want your shoes.

Why are these the most common type of compliment young women give to one another?

While it is nice to hear that someone else besides you likes your outfit, it is only a momentary high. I much prefer the unusual compliments; the ones women never give other women except in long birthday letters when they reflect on their friendship. I want women to start praising, flattering, calling out the good stuff in other women on deeper topics than fashion choices. And I want them to start doing it out loud, to each other, within earshot of other women. Every day.

Since a very young age, I’ve been a reader of memoirs and self-help books. I love when successful, interesting people share advice drawn from their life experiences. In high school, I started a compliment box, an idea I got from one of these types of books.

I kept little note cards that each had a compliment I’d received that year. While I stopped the compliment box when I got to college, I came across it recently while cleaning out my childhood room. Flipping through the sections, I bypassed all the compliments on my eyes or my smile, which, while sweet, didn’t really tell me anything about me. I poured over the compliments on my schoolwork and my personality.

Compliments from others on your looks only reflect what the person looking at you can physically see. Compliments from others on intangible things reflect something more profound.

For girls and young women, it is valuable and vital to our self-esteem to hear validation from other women about our choices not related to fashion. We can all start today: working on praising others on their peacemaking skills; their ability to proof-read complicated documents quickly; or their willingness to major in a tough field. What we admire and respect in other women is not related to their style choices; it is something more. And we should tell them that.

You’re so good at mental math. You juggle your friends and your relationship so well. It makes me so proud to be your friend when I see your byline in the paper.

Courtesy: Ashley Poole Photography

While I enjoy wearing dresses, great heels, and getting my hair done, the best compliment I’ve gotten this year was when someone very special to me said simply, “You’re the funniest girl I’ve ever known, and will probably ever know.”

That’s the kind of compliment I’ll remember for months or even years. I might even have to resurrect my compliment box for the occasion.

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