This year’s CurvyCon — a three-day event that brings fashionistas, bloggers and YouTubers together with plus-sized brands to embrace all the curvy goodness — was held last week in New York City. In attendance was actress, author and director, Gabourey Sidibe, who spoke about her career, hair and the acceptance of love.
Sidibe shared a personal story about meeting Beyoncé and finding herself unable to accept the compliments that Queen Bey was giving her:
"I ran into her right before I went on my book tour last year, and she was still pregnant, and she said to me, 'I’m really excited for you and really proud of everything you’re doing,'" she shared with CeCe Olisa and Chastity Garner, according to Yahoo.
However, when it came to responding, Sidibe shared that she simply could not accept the compliment.
"I struggle with accepting love, with accepting praise, with accepting help," shared the 35-year-old. Sidibe believes it has something to do with a small thing that many of us can relate to: Being taught to be humble.
Sidibe isn’t alone in her reaction. In fact, a study has shown that 78% of compliments given from one woman to another isn’t accepted, according to Psychology Today. Psychologist Laura Brannon shared that women with high self-esteem reject compliments in order to seem modest. For those with lower self-esteem, accepting compliments can be tough because they don’t see themselves the way the person complimenting them does, so it’s harder for them to believe the compliment.
Amy Nelmes Bisset conducted an experiment of her own in which she complimented 28 women over a span of 28 days and she found that those she complimented were quick to reject the compliments as well. Some responses to her compliments consisted of:
"Oh, I found these (earrings) at the bottom of the drawer. They are really old," as well as, "(These shoes) make my cankles look awful but they would look good on you. I wish I had the legs! I just hate them," and "It’s fucking hard getting older, okay."
Guy Winch, a psychologist who wrote Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure and Other Everyday Hurts, has a theory that the rejection of compliments is something that women have learned over time.
"Many women are socialized to be humble, modest and to avoid external displays of pride or arrogance," shared Winch with Refinery29, "Therefore, their default response is to be demure and rebuff compliments."
Winch acknowledges that it can be uncomfortable to simply say "thank you" but it’s important to continue doing so until the uncomfortableness subsides. It is definitely okay (and possible) to accept a compliment, especially from another queen that’s admiring you.
Meanwhile, Sidibe admits she’s learning that love comes in many forms and "the more love we accept, the more love we get." If you’re ever in need of a pick-me-up, just check out these angels below sharing a message we can all take a little something from:
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