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Can you accept a compliment?

compliment

(Maybe take two. They’re small).

It has been my observation (and the observation of others… multiple others) that many women can’t. I see it all the time, especially in my work with teenage girls. Tell any given 16 year-old girl that her hair looks nice or she played a great game of softball or that her piece in the art show was beautiful and you’ll most likely get a response back that deflects that compliment (at best) or downright redirects the compliment into something “wrong” with her or why she’s not good enough (at worst).

And it’s not just teenagers who are guilty of this behavior.  Comedy Central’s Amy Schumer created a video that takes this behavior in women to extremes and it went viral – it’s been viewed over 1 million times since it was released in May of 2013. The societal parody depicts a group of girlfriends responding with self-loathing remarks each time they are complimented by one another. The compliments range from comments about appearance and weight to things like work promotions and pregnancy. But the scathing comments that each woman remarks back about herself drive home the point to an absurd length: women cannot take compliments.

(Warning: the video is not even remotely politically correct, censored, or safe-for-work. If you offend easily, you probably shouldn’t watch it. But it is funny because it is extreme. And it is so extreme because this is SUCH a predominant behavior among otherwise healthy functioning women. We need the wakeup call, ladies.)

Why do we do this??

Read More…

Empathy vs Sympathy

empathy versus sympathy

“I know what it’s like down here.
And you’re not alone.”

Dr. Brene Brown, who is super awesome and did an amazing TED talk on vulnerability (which garnered her more notoriety than she was expecting), summed up the difference between sympathy and empathy in a way that is succinct and beautiful and dead. on. accurate.

Then, The Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts took the awesomeness to the next level by animating her profound and true words with adorable woodland creatures. And a hole. And a ladder.

And it’s beautiful.

In the words of Brene (because, in my head, we’re close like that and on a first name basis): “So what is empathy? And why is it very different than sympathy? Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection.”

That’s some truth right there. And it just gets better. Read More…

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