As we enter a new year, we can only hope that society will continue to improve. In the wake of a very powerful body positivity movement, people of all ages are becoming more aware of the things they say and the way they act. Whether you agree or disagree with this movement, there are small things that you can do to become more aware of the impact you have on those around you.
Compliments are not always as positive as you think they are. It can be easy to think you're providing kind words to someone around you when in reality you're doing the exact opposite. For someone self-conscious about their weight-loss (or gain) journey, "you look so thin" or "wow you're so skinny" immediately creates anxiety. While the idea of being skinny or losing weight may seem ideal for you, you are directly associating this person's weight with their worth. For someone struggling with an eating disorder, comments like "you've lost weight, how did you do it?" can immediately trigger dangerous reactions.
While it may seem that these observations are unnecessary, sensitive, or even dramatic, thoughts like these are more common than you'd think. If your goal is to make someone feel good about themselves, wouldn't you be willing to make alterations to accomplish that? While these conversations can be tough to have, most of the time, they result in a reaction of understanding and gratitude for brutal honesty. As you navigate working to compliment productively, here are some phrases that have proven to be more successful than some of the go-to "wow you look so skinny" comments.
You look great!
This one should be a simple go-to comment. Instead of commenting directly on weight-loss or gain. Letting someone know that you think they look good can't go wrong.
You're looking so healthy!
Everyone wants to be healthy. This is another comment that will leave the person you're complimenting feeling good about their choices and proud to be living a healthy life.
I love your ____ today.
Get specific. Compliment their hair, their clothing, their makeup, something is better than nothing. Making those around you feel good about the way they look without feeling like their weight is the only thing worth complimenting is extremely beneficial.
Choosing to compliment someone around you is the easiest gift to give. It's free and simple and incredibly appreciated. As you're working to give good compliments, remember that many times, those around you are working through journeys of their own. When striving to lose or gain weight, oftentimes your entire lifestyle has to change. It can feel like your entire worth is centered around a number on a scale. Hearing a compliment that is directed at you as a whole or something great you've been doing can be just the boost you need to continue your journey.
Happy complimenting. Let's make 2019 a year of lifting up those around us.