Phil calls me awesome all the time. We even have a saying in our house: awesome looks like tired. So, if we are looking pretty run down, it must be because we are being awesome. But the truth is, I don't feel awesome.
The other morning, as I fought through anxiety, hyperventilating, and the feeling of a heart attack, I spent my whole drive to work saying, "I must go to work. So not drive into the ditch. I must make it to work. Do not drive into the ditch." Later in the day, my mom called me and I was telling her about my morning and she said, "I did call you at work didn't I?" My mind exploded a little as I realized what I had accomplished. She called me amazing, and I probably was, but I didn't feel amazing.
I have been called brave and inspiring. I have been told I'm strong, tough, spectacular, incredible, marvelous, and a multitude of other beautiful, well-intentioned compliments from a wide variety of people. And I knew what they were trying to tell me. They were acknowledging all I have overcome. And I am grateful. I needed each and every one of those compliments. Unfortunately, I couldn't own any of them. None of them felt right on me.
Until a few days ago. A friend was talking to me and he told me: There is no question you are resilient. The moment he said it, something clicked, the lights went on, and the heavens opened. Like a key that finally opened the lock, at last I had a word that represented overcoming my struggles that I could finally wear comfortably and proudly. Yes! I am resilient.
It was a word that spoke to my own actions and abilities. I did this. I worked for it. It wasn't a big boastful word, but it had substance and authority. Like finally finding a pair a jeans you want to wear everyday and that also make your butt look good, I was so excited I just wanted to take the word out and show it to everyone.
Look at me! I'm resilient! I'm still standing! I survived!
So, if you're like me, and struggle to receive or own a compliment, don't give up. There is a word out there for you that will feel like a second skin. Keep looking for it. And in the meantime, know that everyone who pays you a compliment you aren't ready to own just wants you to feel as special as they already know you are. You are loved.