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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    Living in a Compliment Culture: The Art of Gracious Self-Esteem

    We live in a culture that’s obsessed with perfect images. Where cool clothes, thin bodies and glossy hair are greeted with admiration, envy and (oftentimes) shame. We have all felt the pressure at some point to look our best and to constantly strive for unattainable perfection. It is within this setting of high expectation, self-doubt and social comparison that compliments become both a blessing and a curse.

    When we receive well-intentioned words of praise, our immediate instinct might be to assume that it is well deserved. That we have achieved something, however small, and that we merit the kind words. But rather than bask in the glow of those loving observations, we too often feel obligated to proudly name the label or brand of where we bought the items or ideas being admired or praised.

    Rather than being able to accept a compliment as it is intended - an acknowledgement of a job well done - we are so conditioned to assume that our success only comes as a result of an expensive outfit, a costly brand-name or a shiny product. We become blinded by the façade of material wealth, letting blame and guilt cloud the potential for true contentment.

    This is why it’s more important than ever to recognize genuine compliments for what they are. It’s not about what you’re wearing or what you own, it’s about who you are. It’s perfectly natural to enjoy these moments of recognition, but please don’t feel obligated to attach any sort of price tag to those moments of innocence. In a culture obsessed with perfection, it can be incredibly hard to find solace in the mirror. And yet, it doesn’t take a designer dress or branded shoes to bring a smile.

    Veiled beneath the surface of every compliment is a stirring reminder that you are enough, just as you are. You deserve a moment of self-restraint and contentment and you owe it to yourself to saviour that moment, rather than feel the need to explain why you are worthy of those positive reflections.

    In time, you will learn the art of gracious self-esteem. You will recognize that true blessings manifest in the smallest of moments and that the most beautiful garments are the ones that are crafted from within. Untarnished by expectations and unencumbered by ego – these are the steps towards emotional health and true contentment.

    You may wear different clothes every day, but never forget who you truly are. Do not allow yourself to become overshadowed by a need for expensive fabric or generic labels, instead remember your true beauty and seek joy in the simplicity of living a life of gratitude, compassion and self-love. Always seeking truth, balance and a sense of interconnectedness to the world around us.

    The next time someone compliments you on your clothing, enjoy it. If they ask you where it’s from, that’s okay too – but don’t forget to acknowledge the person you truly are underneath all of the flashy exterior. It’s not about having the most expensive things; it’s about having the courage to live your life with confidence and grace. Wear your truth and let that be the source of your power.

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