Complement not compliment


It may surprise that a compliment is a complex being

I define it so because it has a life of its own

It can make me smile, warming my heart

Bolstering my confidence and making my day


Until the doubts seep in, then it intimidates, recognition unsought

Disbelief at the rising hope of being seen as ‘good’ at something

The shadowy background of my life, suddenly visible to all

I feel exposed, open to comment and thus judgement


Echoing questions: Do they really mean it?  Is the compliment real?

Or is it simply societal politeness, rather than truth

Am I too audacious to even dare contribute, to dream?

To see the compliment as an earned and real recognition


Physical appearance is an easy compliment for me

I see them as stock phrases that slip off everyone’s tongue

Socially acceptable and even expected as part of communication

Often a gentle lie to retain passage through the societal tangle


The intimacy of my creative work is where I truly worry

Being complimented there is mind blowing, its scares me

In my work all I see is the flaws I struggle to accept that others don’t

That my work might make someone smile, or warm their heart


I may never understand the meaning they share

What they meant to gift me, that kindness of noticing

My perception immediately filters and warps the intent

The compliment becomes a threatening stalker


The compliment something I must live up to

Something I have to replicate but might never

Expectation prevents me even trying, the fear of failing

I appreciate the thought but have warped the intent


Complimenting me is a complex proposition

Often wielded without thought but in kindness

But the impact can be monumentally negative

As I never see or believe the compliment to be true

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