Grudge match over a compliment



An inherent social, mainly familial, problem was highlighted for me today:

Folk never tell folk meaningful stuff to their faces. In other words, parents, siblings, teachers, friends…whoever…..tell everyone else but the person in question, how great said person is and what their particular shining attributes are. Within families this can create completely unnecessary rifts.

My wise old friend was being very wise the other day as we sat admiring her garden. She told me that she and her brothers had always hated one set of cousins, mainly because their Grandmother constantly went on about how wonderful they were. Recently they were all reunited at Grandmother’s funeral and were harking back to childhood….it turns out she did exactly the same about her and her brothers to their cousins, who had also felt collectively miffed for the best part of 60 years.

What is with us that we can’t just tell someone we are proud of them, they’ve inspired us, cheered us up or done themselves proud?

I believe it is mostly a British thing….other nationalities seem to be much warmer in that respect. We must have had generations of people feeling inadequate and inferior, simply because we ‘talk behind their backs’. It may not be in the traditional bitchy or gossipy sense but nonetheless it is damaging.

There are obvious exceptions; cool threads, great hair, wonderful cuisine……soooooo pretty. We are happy to gush openly about them. So what about kind? Long-suffering? Patient? Inspiring? Infectiously motivating? Tough? Capable? Anything deeper than looks and fuel presentation???

I just reckon, we live in a world where dark skinned folk want to be light skinned and light skinned folk want to be dark, people are implanting crap into their bodies to all look the same as one bloody doll – a product, beauty is still only skin deep but some seem to think that if they keep layering it’ll all work out…..what I’m saying is that it would be great if we could go back to respecting traits, generosity of spirit, selflessness, positive attributes rather than merely singling out good assets.

I don’t reckon that we should all be constantly ego stroking each other – no, that would be torture… that’s how it is now! I just mean, when someone does something pretty amazing or makes you think differently or changes your world, even for a moment, just tell them. Presents are all very well but telling someone face to face….or writing a letter to say, that you really appreciate them, is genuinely priceless.

I’ve been cogitating this for a while. One of the things that struck me hardest when I realised and accepted that Lyme might shorten my life considerably, was that I really wanted all the people I cared about to know it and know why they are so bloody brilliant and how much I value them…..including people from way back who I’ve always remembered for one reason or another, which was probably a bit over zealous but what the hell, how bad can a compliment be?

The reason it was highlighted today was because a member of the older generation was visiting and, being objective…. with gritted teeth, I think I could concede that maybe he is merely perpetrating the usual grudge-inducing round robin of wrongly directed continual praise in mismatched company when he makes us feel quite as inferior as he does in his lauding of other siblings whilst seemingly totally ignoring the tour of the fruits of our endless hard work and throwing barely a scrap of positivity our way.

I just want the next generation, my kids if I’m fortunate, not to have to do battle with the smog of the family merry-go-round or the general beauty rankings and just get on with being wonderful people. How can any of us reach our full potential if noone is prepared to tell us the good, and meaningful, stuff like it is?

3 thoughts on “Grudge match over a compliment

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