Thursday, March 12, 2015

A question of compliments

What is the best compliment you've ever received?

This one is from Jz.  I thought it would be a really hard one.  It's certainly a great question, far more to it than meets the eye at first glance.  But, the answer occurred to me pretty quickly.

A few people over the years, most recently my husband, have told me that i am a very caring person.  

I know that doesn't seem like any great compliment, it sounds more like a throw away line you use when you can't think of anything else to say.  But that wasn't what it was.  It was/they were genuine assessments, his/their thoughts about me at difficult and important moments.

I don't always see myself as caring.  Or - i believe i care, and that it is incredibly important to be a caring person, but i don't always see that as "me."  I don't necessarily feel like i live up to what i think i ought to be.

In my family, from a pretty young age, i was the one who ended up making the rational, objective, difficult choices, the one who could be strong and hold it together in a crisis.  That's a more cold and seemingly uncaring position.  

I'm still more head than heart.  That's just who i am.  I am a scientist by profession, and by temperament.  When people come to me with problems, I'm more apt to try to start thinking of solutions than to lend a shoulder or an ear.  I have to work at making myself do the latter. Maybe living with all boys has contributed to that, or maybe that's just an unfair stereotype.  Chicken-egg?  Who knows?

I'm shy, and i'm also not overly demonstrative.  I don't do virtual hugs, and irl, i have to know you pretty well.  While my husband and i are very touch oriented, in general i tend to show my care and concern by doing, whatever it is i see can be done.  Sometimes though, there isn't anything that doing can help.  

I've wondered over the years if this makes me a poorer friend, poorer mother, poorer wife than i could be, ought to be.  

So for someone, especially someone who knows me well, to tell me they see me as a very caring person is a very big compliment to me. Maybe the only compliment that matters. 


  1. I really like this answer, thank you. A good explanation of why something so seemingly simple means such a lot to you.
    I suspect more a lot more people think you are very caring than you believe, but I know these kinds of things only ring true to us from a select group of people, anyhow. (It really is lovely to have one of those people insist that we do indeed have value in the areas where we think we are lacking, isn't it?)

    *bumpage* :-)

    1. Thank you friend. I am so different (odd maybe) in so many ways. Most don't really matter, but in this, it does matter to me. There are a few people who's needs i need to meet. It helps to hear that i am doing that. And from those i want to know i care, that helps too.