Thank You for the Compliment

Today, one of the girls who works at the gym told me that I was looking really good.  It caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure what to say. Did she really mean it? Why did she say that? I don’t look good. I look like a balloon that has had some air let out of it. I feel like a lumpy sack of mash potatoes…

I am pretty sure that what she was trying to say was that it is noticeable how much I have changed for the postive, even in the past few months.

I blushed. Said, “Aww shucks Ma’am.” And then kicked at the floor.

But seriously, I think I didn’t even really say anything. I think I froze. Like a llama in headlamps.

I don’t take compliments very well. I never really know how to deal with them.

Part of it is because, regardless of my online persona, I am really a humble guy.

Part of it is because of being bullied as a youngster. This is the way that went down…A girl comes up to me and says, “My friend thinks you’re cute.” And I said, “Really?” And she said, “No. We all think you’re ugly.” And then she ran off with all of her friends and they were all laughing. This kind of thing was not an isolated incident.

Another part of me doesn’t take compliments well because I sometimes feel that I do not deserve them. Like there is no reason people should say nice things to me, because they should hate me like I sometimes hate myself.

Uh, oh. Shizz just got real up in here.

I have some pretty serious image issues that stem from a childhood and teendom of being overweight, bespectacled, and having zits. Now I know that these things are pretty normal things for a lot of kids. But it weighed heavily on my self-esteem and my self-image.  You may remember a post a made a while back about how I used humor to get past the fact that I thought I was fat and ugly and nobody liked me. Oh, you don’t remember that post? You slacker. It is the post where I compare myself to Judah Friedlander. Go read it here, right now… Done? Ok. Moving right along.

So I guess what it comes down to is that I am still dealing with my self-image and self-esteem issues even though I have lost over 100 lbs, am married to a smokin hot lady, have a successful career, have beautiful kids, and am an all-around likeable guy. But I bet a lot of folks who are overweight, are in the process of losing weight, or have lost a lot of weight, deal with this as well. As a matter of fact, I bet ALL people deal with this at some point or another. It is easy to say or write one of those cheesy quotes that fly around Pinterest about loving yourself the way you are or whatever. But when you feel ugly and un-likeable deep down inside, those quotes are worthless.

It is a fight to get over those types of feelings. I know. I fight them all day every day. I know there are others out there who are fighting them as well. Go read this post from Steve Gray, who I met at the Fitbloggin conference. This post made me almost cry because I relate to the self-hate that he talks about…

Don’t be me.

Don’t allow yourself to do an amazing thing, like trying Crossfit for the first time, and then stand in the mirror and remind yourself of how fat and ugly you think you are.

Don’t allow yourself to accept compliments with a smile, while thinking the person giving said compliment is full of shit and is just trying to say something nice.

Don’t allow yourself to hate yourself.


Unfortunately my post does not have a solution to dealing with self-loathing. I think that I am dealing with it better than I have in the past. I usually feel pretty good about myself, but I still deal with the fact that most days I don’t even like looking in the mirror.

Having a community around me though that I know will read this and send me notes, and emails, and DM’s and tweets and whatever telling me how I should not feel that way, helps a lot. I appreciate you guys. And no, that was not me fishing for compliments! 🙂

Do me a favor. The next time you pay someone a compliment, do this… Tell them that you are sincere about what you are saying and that you think that they deserve to hear it. It will make their day knowing that you really mean it and that they deserve it.

Go leave some comments over on SteveGrayFTW as well. Let him know that you support him and that he is the man. He deserves it.

To the person at the gym today, I know that you know about my blog. You might even read this.  I say thank you for the compliment. It means a lot to me that you would go out of your way to make me feel good about myself. I am sorry for the way I took it. You may have been being nice. You may have just been stating a fact (debatable). You may be the kind of person that realizes that someone needs to hear some positivity. Regardless, after much thought I have come to accept and appreciate what you said.

To my wife reading, because I know you will, you make me feel like a champion everyday I draw breath. I want you to know that my battle with self-image and self-loathing are in no way based on a lack of affirmation from you. You ALWAYS make me feel loved and worthy of life.

To all those fighting the good fight. Keep fighting. You will reap the rewards in time. I know it.

Peace. Love. More Love.



Let me encourage you to subscribe to my blog feed.  I don’t always measure my success with numerical performance indicators…but when I do, I do it by looking at how many subscribers I have. I currently have 260. I have 460 Facebook likes. I feel that the two should jive. Please consider subscribing if you haven’t already. You will be notified by email every time I make a new post and I promise that you won’t get any stupid spam or anything.  Do it for the kicks.


18 comments to Thank You for the Compliment

  • Kyle Radaker

    Hank…I say this will the most sincere intention — YOU KICK ASS! I watch you come in and give everything you’ve got and push yourself past limiting self talk and physical challenges! I agree that many people have thoughts that can create barriers — psychologically AND physically! The ability to cross those barriers is the biggest accomplishment of them all!

    I applaud you for shining a light on this issue as well as putting yourself out there and keeping it real.

    • hank

      (To those reading these comments, Kyle is the KettleHell instructor!)
      Thanks man. You see it first hand so I really appreciate the feedback. I try an talk myself out of coming almost every day. But I love it once I am there and EVEN MORE once I get through it! Thanks Kyle.

  • Steve
    Twitter: SteveGrayFTW

    Obviously, you know I can relate to this…so very much…and it sucks. It’ll get better though. We’re surrounded by an awesome community who can also relate to us, who can love us, and will help us feel around in the dark until we’re able to get away from these feelings of self loathing.

    Oh…and THANK YOU for the compliment, but so much for the tears in eyes from reading this…well, okay, thank you for them too. 🙂

  • Love it. Get used to it because at the end of all this, your lovely wife will be the only person more smokin’ hot than you!!

  • I know someone very much like you. Stay positive. Sounds like you work hard and are a likeable guy. I am sure the girl at gym was sincere. Have a happy day.

  • Elisha Dew
    Twitter: elishadew

    As someone who loves to give compliments, and who also has a hard time receiving compliments, I honestly think that most compliments are sincere (other than those guys who are just trying to get into your pants, but we’re in Elisha’s Land of Fat, so those guys don’t even exist).

    If someone at the gym says, “Hey, you’re looking good!” it’s because you’re looking good, and/or possibly because they have witnessed you in action and realize just how much ass you kick. If I tell someone she’s pretty, it’s because I think she’s pretty. Or whatever.

    The thing is, you don’t have to believe it right now. You don’t have to agree today. Just accept it as sincere, file it away in your Positive Memory Bank, and save it for later. Eventually you’ll have a whole stack of them, and one day your perception of yourself will catch up with everyone else’s, even for just an instant, and you’ll recognize the truth in those positive words.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    Twitter: itallchanges

    You know I understand this. And it’s hard to mentally understand compliments are usually genuine but our brains say the stupid things back.

    I’m so glad we have this community to help maintain and grow from this.

    *BTW I totally read this post in your awesome southern accent. :-)*

  • Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me
    Twitter: itsmevsme

    I always try to justify people’s compliments to me, somehow “rationalize” them in my own head. Which makes people not want to give me compliments.

    We should all just learn to say “thank you” and mean it. : )

  • Delf Enriquez
    Twitter: DelfEnriquez

    Not sure how to start this, so I’ll just write what I feel.

    Not a day goes by that I don’t still feel some degree of what you’ve shared. Yes, it had everything to do with what we’ve all experienced growing up. Yes, it’s somewhat unfair. Yes, we probably have to work harder than other people to accept compliments and avoid self-loathe.

    I’ve lost the weight, gotten into bodybuilding shape, but what I felt inside took a longer time to catch up with what I looked like on the outside. How long? It’s still catching up. And I think it’ll be this way for a while. I think it’s a day-to-day thing, and I just use each day as an opportunity to say to myself, “You’re doin’ pretty good today.”

  • Wee wifey

    Awwww 🙂 and I totally rate. If someone gives me a compliment on what I’m wearing I can totally accept it, but if they give me a compliment on something about me it’s like “deflect, deflect, deflect.” And I’m totally paranoid about my children inheriting what I perceive to be my physical flaws and not knowing how to let them see themselves as amazing when I don’t know how to accept it in myself. But they’re totally amazing so maybe they won’t ever have to worry about it.

  • Patty
    Twitter: pattyaizaga

    I think you are so brave to write this post because so many of us feel this way. Somedays it is really hard to take a complimenet and some days its not. For me I think so much of that is because of what I think of myself on any given day. I’m in a weird place where the grief of losing my father is more evident on some days than on others. Sometimes it affects my weight loss journey and my sense of self. But in my head is my mother’s voice, “Love yourself first” and that’s what I think of on the hard days. And I give people the benefit of the doubt when they compliment and appreciate them at their word.

  • Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail)
    Twitter: DarwinianFail

    I am with you. I struggle when people compliment me as well. UGH! Not that I don’t very much appreciate it, but it makes me feel embarrassed.

    My auto function is sarcasm, a bit of self-loathing, and a dark sense of humor. So I definitely struggle with the idea of self-love. Working on it though!

    PS I think you are AWESOME!!

  • Alana
    Twitter: alanagruss

    I can so relate. It is even weirder now that I am pregnant, I have gained weight and feel horrible, but now EVERYONE is saying how great I look. Um, sure. “I believe you” – says the crazy overweight hormonal pregnant chick. 🙂
    Even thought I know I have made great strides in my weight and body composition prior to becoming pregnant and put on exercise restriction.

  • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)
    Twitter: TheDailyMel

    Yeah, add me to the list of those who can relate. As soon as someone gives me a compliment, I immediately deflect it by pointing out a flaw. You know, the whole, “Thanks, but …” thing. I’m trying to work on it, but it’s definitely not easy to change YEARS and YEARS of that habit.

  • Kimberly @ Healthy Strides
    Twitter: healthy_strides

    This was something I struggled with when I was losing. Heck, I still do! My standard response has become, “Thank you. I’ve been working hard.” Period. There’s no “but I want to lose 5 more pounds” or “but I’m a slow runner.” Just a thanks and the recognition of the work.

  • Lovely post. I especially like the last bit about your wife. It’s a tough concept to understand sometimes that even when we are happy with our spouse and family life, that other things can make us unhappy or dissatisfied, and no matter how much that person loves you and you love them, it doesn’t easily erase the pain of a poor self image, etc. Good for you. 🙂

  • Ashley Colop

    Now that you got me all teary eyed.. Thank you for these words! I am a new subscriber and someone who is starting my journey. I am a wife and the mother of three kids. I often do no accept myself and feel I am unworthy of kind words, and support. It’s a hard thing to overcome but I pray that this too comes along with the journey. We are worth it! Thank you again!

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