In order to accept a compliment, do you need to already think it's true? If you don't believe those good things, will you believe them when you hear them from someone else? I don't think so. I think we accept the compliments that ring true.
This is related to the, "Do you think I'm fat?" question (I still think the answer to that one is "no," but if she's asking, you've got other issues to deal with).
Actually, let's address the, "Do I look fat in these jeans?" question. The correct answer to that one is the truth. If she looks bad in those jeans say, "I like the other jeans better. Those are not the most flattering." I have asked this question and I wanted the truth.
Men think this question is a set-up, that women have something particular in mind. I don't think that's the case. The problem is, the woman who asks it doesn't realize what she's doing. She wants to feel better, she wants to be reassured. What she hasn't figured out is that neither answer will make her happy. If he says she looks good and she doesn't think she looks good, she won't believe him and it will cause her to ask for more reassurance. If he tells her the truth, she'll feel bad, but since she believes the bad thing already, she will probably stick around.
In the cases where you sincerely want the answer to this question, you are kind of screwed. In those cases, don't ask your boyfriend. It's better to go to a girlfriend for this stuff. How can he tell when it's a real question and when it's a cry for reassurance? Sometimes you might not even know.
This plays out with other compliments as well. The compliments that we receive from a friend or boyfriend that we don't believe make us mistrust the person. We like the compliments that resonate with our sense of self. Perhaps the super-confident among us are able to accept compliments that take us beyond or normal view of ourselves. Maybe others can see things about ourselves that we can't see.
Wouldn't it be good if we could accept all of these compliments? Sure, sometimes it's malarkey, but why not believe that you deserve to be liked for all kinds of reasons--reasons beyond what you know about yourself? Why feel worse when you can feel better? Why not believe the best? You deserve it.
Grateful for: getting better at giving compliments.
P.S. The computer came home today (yes!). That means coffee shop blogging is on for this weekend. I was almost reconciled to the idea of not writing for the entire weekend, but I figured I might break out the pens and notebooks.
I haven't decided yet, but I may go to every-other-day posting. I need to be busy, but I've been overwhelmed. I'm not stopping--not even close--I'll let you know when I figure it out.