Life on display

Compliments are nice, but we can’t live our lives based on those.

As we are getting older, lip service seems to become the culturally appropriate thing to do. Even back when we were still in our teens, we’ve said to our friends, ‘Your pencil case is cute!’ or ‘Where do you get your phone casing? It’s so pretty!’

Probably those comments are harmless – they are just the things we say to the people we meet to make them feel good about themselves. Children are encouraged to say nice things to each other, as the act teaches them how to care for their friends. And who do we learn it from? Our parents.

Just think about it. Growing up, we see how the adults converse with each other, saying things like, ‘You’re getting so skinny!’ or ‘Ahhh you’re so pretty today!’ or ‘What a nice dress!’

So without realising it, we begin to adopt the same culture.

The good thing about this is people would always feel welcomed; they would feel like others are being attentive enough to comment on the little things of their lives.

The bad thing about this is that the comments might be said half-heartedly instead of genuinely, even when they are true. They might be said merely as a lip service – simply because it’s the norm.

The danger about this is we begin to anticipate it every time we meet others. Thus we dress up so others can tell us we’re pretty. We wear high heels so they can tell us we’re skinny. We apply make-up so they can tell us we’re flawless.

Then we begin to notice what other people wear so we can return the favour, saying nice things about them as well. Sure, it’s nice to hear that we’re pretty/beautiful/skinny/awesome, but this will feed our self-confidence, which may in return be adopted as the definition of our worth.

I think we dress up more for other people instead for ourselves.

And we might crave for compliments more than we want to acknowledge.

Food for thought.

Photo by Valentina Manjarrez, Creative Commons via Flickr