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.