Backhanded Compliments

They just really seriously rub me the wrong way.

Sharing good news with the people you love should be an amazing experience. Those are some of the moments that make this tough yet wonderful life worth living. You have good things happen to you and you are so overcome with joy and pride in yourself that you just can’t help but want to share it with the people you love the most!

But then…sometimes…that person who you thought would be just as excited for you isn’t ready to receive your energy. They listen to you and then…instead of being happy for you and congratulating you on a job well done…they spew out a comment that sounds nice at first. Then, after you replay the sentence in your mind, you realize it wasn’t as nice or as funny as it sounded a minute ago. It was actually an insult! A jab at your success and intelligence, a backhanded compliment. Your energy suddenly drops in that moment and your ego, pride, and vulnerable areas are wounded. They all start giving each other pep talks and prepare very witty, angry and mean comebacks to spew right back at that person. That is the moment. The moment where you decide.

Do you fall into this person’s trap? Do you spew out every come back that pops into your head in that instant? Do you give into your anger and insecurities?


Do you take the high road? Stop, take a deep breath and not let that person’s negativity bring you down from that wonderful place full of pride, happiness and love for yourself and your accomplishments that you were thriving in not so long ago?

This happened to me last week. I was super close to spewing out lots of negative things. To reciprocate the energy that person was giving off, however, I stopped what I was doing and really reflected on what was happening inside my mind. It was a constant battle with myself not to say anything mean, angry or egotistic. I gave a quick positive response and didn’t talk to that person the rest of the day. I was fuming for a bit. I thought about confronting that person for what was said but I realized perhaps it could have been jealousy, insecurity or some other negative feeling that drove that person to say that mean thing to me. And where would I be if I had said what had come to my mind so quickly? I would have had an argument with my friend. I would have tried to wound her the way she wounded me and said things we couldn’t take back. I know friendships have ended because of smaller things but I was not willing to risk it. If our friendship should end, then let it not be because I participated in casting stones at it. If I had cast a stone at her, how could we go back from that? Would “I’m sorry” really have healed our wounds or our hearts? Probably not.

So I bit my tongue and remembered everything I had learned at my work shops. I chose to let it go. I chose to pick love for myself and love for my friend, who despite that “Mean Girl” moment, is an amazingly kind person and move forward with my life. All the drama and cruelty was not worth it to me. I, on the other hand, am worth it. That positive attitude and happiness I was trying to spread is worth me letting go of something mean someone said. In that moment, I remembered something my very wise coach, Darlene, had asked me when I came crying to her about something someone else had said to me, “How long are you going to let what other people say about you or think about you rule your life? When are you going to stop  letting other people control your happiness?”

Though I still think it was a terrible thing to say, I know I can’t control what people say to me, I can only control my reaction to the situation. I will not sit here and victimize myself. I will be a triumphant and positive warrior, ready to defend my happiness and positive attitude with every tool I’ve got. But it will always be from a place of love. It will always be from a place where understanding and patience will always overpower anger and unawareness. In this moment of self love and awareness, a particularly amazing yet simple quote comes to mind that I just can’t help but share. It encompasses everything you need to be able to take on any situation and works as a reminder that a little bit of love goes a long way.




2 thoughts on “Backhanded Compliments

  1. Emily says:

    Dang…where to begin?! Well first off, I must say that this topic of back handed comments has really got me thinking. It wasn’t until I read, then reread what you wrote that I was actually able to fully digest how much of that sort of negativity has played a massive role in different aspects of my life. In all honesty, a good part of who I am & what I’ve become has been in result of that type energy. It has brought out the worst in me at times and it has also brought out the best. It has guided me down a road of confusion & doubt on serveral occasions and has made me invest many precious hours on trying to figure out if those types of chicken- shit comments were ligit or just figments of my imagination. As much as I dislike admitting to it, there are many of those lingering comments still dwelling in the dark corners of my mind that refuse to vacate. However instead of allowing them to freely occupy & toxify my thoughts I’ve decided to turn the tables on them & leech off them for a change. They have become the fuel to my fire & the zing to my zang! They are what motivates me to always do what makes me happy & they serve as a constant reminder to live life in light & not in darkness. We only have 1 shot at life & I refuse with fingers in my ears to ever allow myself to spend my days miserable over empty words & vacant people.


    • Evy says:

      I love that you’re using them for something positive. That’s the thing about life’s challenges. You either succumb to them and let them overcome you physically or emotionally, or you learn the lessons and use it to fuel your fire as you put it!


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