Vanity versus Self-Esteem: How to Help Your Girl Heal

Yesterday’s post for the #30DayChallenge was particularly hard for me. I think it’s hard for some people (myself included) to acknowledge the good things about ourselves.

Once upon a time, it was considered rude to accept a compliment, and some people still feel that way. Try it sometime: the next time someone offers you a compliment, just say “Thank you; I know.” In most cases, you’ll see the other person’s smile twitch or full on contort into a grimace of disgust. That will be followed with some sort of comment about how you think you’re so hot. You’re not supposed to admit that you think highly of yourself! Then the shaming begins.

sopretty

For some reason, acknowledging one’s own greatness is seen as vanity, and being vain is a negative character trait.

We should be humble…

This causes problems for those of us who have dated people who think we are weak/timid/uncertain/insecure because we can’t take a compliment, but rather downplay our positive attributes. I can’t count how many times I’ve had someone tell me to “just take the compliment, dammit!”

This is doubly hard for those of us who need the validation.

tellmeimpretty

We need the compliments to help us to rebuild our self-esteem after we’ve been crushed by a bad breakup, received a negative slam from some stranger or (worse) someone we like, or after we get a negative mark on an evaluation at work. Some of us just need the compliments because we’ve been slammed so many times in the past that it is hard for us to believe that a single compliment is true.

A single compliment may be a ploy from some Alpha jerk who wants to use a girl and then toss her aside. It could be a way to get us to lower our shields so that we’ll tell all our secrets, making us more vulnerable than we already are. Once our shields are down and our secrets are out, it’s easy to manipulate a situation so that we doubt ourselves more. It’s called gaslighting.

gaslight

Those of us who have been seriously hurt by men who would do such a thing (use our weaknesses against us to make us weaker), will immediately blush and shy away from a compliment. We will tell you that you are wrong, or lying. We will deny the compliment repeatedly in the hopes that you will continue to give it to us until we believe you mean it.

It is a fault in us. And what’s worse is that we know it is a fault in us. We know we shouldn’t need the compliments. We know this is a sign of weakness, and it makes us feel even weaker.

So how do you reassure a woman who has been hurt?

kissonforeheadWhen she denies your compliment, don’t tell her she should just take the compliment, this reinforces that she is weak for needing the compliment. Instead make eye contact with her so she knows you mean what you say. If that means bending down to meet her eye, so be it. Better yet, lift her chin so she isn’t staring down at the floor in defeat, but looking up in hope. Then say the compliment again.

Expect her to cry a little bit, but relish those tears! You are helping her to break through years of hurt and anguish. Hug her tight so she knows you accept her anyway. She needs the acceptance more than you realize. Kiss her on the forehead and tell her how beautiful she is even when she cries. It is in those moments that she is showing you her true self, hidden beneath the scars, and she needs to know you accept her that way, that you accept her, scars and all.

It’s a long process, but if you love her, it will be worth it in the end. A girl who has been hurt but has been healed through love is one of the most loyal girls you will ever meet. Treat her right, and she’ll be yours forever!

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