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Is this a compliment?

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Old 01-15-2011, 06:43 PM   #1
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I've gotten a comment a few times lately that kind of bothers me even though I think it's supposed to be a compliment.

One person said "you don't even look like the same person."

I had to do some video clips for a possible media appearance and a close friend, watching with me said "you've reinvented yourself..."

And it's true, in a way. Two years ago, I looked like a total sad sack. I was morbidly obese, I had frizzy graying two-toned hair, I dressed like a person who hated herself....

Now, I was looking at myself in the videos and I look really different. I look pretty and very stylish-- I colored and straightened my hair, I was wearing a nice jacket (size 12) altered (taken in) to fit properly....

When I saw myself in the video, I was really surprised. I looked totally NORMAL and even kind of polished and pretty.

But have I really REINVENTED MYSELF? Am I really not the same person? I guess what bothers me is that I now realize that I used to think I was hypersensitive and that I was just imagining it when people did not treat me with respect-- but now I'm starting to realize how MUCH difference your appearance makes-- and that just makes me feel sad.

I'm sure others of you have gotten comments like this. Just wondering how it makes you feel.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:04 PM   #2
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Reinvention is a good thing. It means you didn't just lose weight, you changed from being a "sad sack" to someone who is confident, active, takes care of her body and is having media appearances!

If it's a close friend, she remembers your mood and personality from "before" and probably wishes that you had been happy and confident back then. And is glad that you got happy and confident with the super bonus of losing 100 pounds!

I'm 8 pounds lighter, but my mood and thoughts about myself are way better than even 8 pounds ago. It finally hit me that my weight was a symptom of my feeling bad about myself, not the cause.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:24 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure it's a compliment I'd give anything to look like a different person.
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Old 01-15-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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It's a compliment. People are noticing that you are taking care of yourself and putting forth an effort.

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Old 01-15-2011, 07:52 PM   #5
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I don't think it's inherently a compliment or an insult.

At my TOPS group, some of the members have been bringing in their "before" photos, and when I saw one woman's before photo, I certainly didn't think about it before the phrase came out of my mouth.

It wasn't meant as an insult or even a compliment. It was just a surprised reaction. Literally, there was almost no resemblance between the woman I knew and the photo. Hair color and style, the stylishness of her clothes, the expression on her face, and the posture - all very different. It was as if weight loss had created a very new and different person. I wouldn't even have placed the woman in the photo as a relative of the woman I knew. Her facial features, style, and confidence were so dramatically different, there was almost no resemblance between the live woman and the photo.

Recently a friend seeing my wedding photo, said "oh, I didn't know your husband had a brother" (he doesn't). Hubby and I both have each lost about 80 lbs since our wedding photo. Hubby is now gray (but in the photo his hair was red) and my hair is now red and in the photo it was light blonde).

I realized that we really have changed enough to look like different people.

I still think we look great in that photo. Fat, yes, but great too. We were smiling and obviously having a great time. I will always display that photo with pride, even when we become entirely unrecognizeable as those people. So I don't consider my friend's comments an insult or a compliment (well I did take it as a bit of a compliment, but that was my choice more than reality).
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:02 PM   #6
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I mean, I can recognize that people mean it as a compliment-- but it gives me a weird feeling. I'm not smarter, or more accomplished or more successful now-- I just fit the role better. That just makes me sad, because I used to often notice that people didn't really seem to take me seriously, and I used to tell myself I was just being sensitive or imagining it, but now, I'm afraid that some of the time it was TRUE.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:56 PM   #7
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So what if it was? It is in the past. It isn't you any more.

Seems silly to keep what iffing it and poking at it.

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Old 01-15-2011, 10:24 PM   #8
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i know EXACTLY what you are talking about. it hacks me off for people to say that to me. i too changed haircolor, had another surgery for health reason that did change my appearance some, as well as lost some weight. but when i see people who haven't seen me in a long time, they don't know any of that so all they see is one effect which they think is all weight loss. so they freak out. i've gone unrecognized by some people. when i got on facebook, i had to keep tabs on my page to monitor and delete some comments made on my pics if i posted new ones. i think saying you don't look like the same person is on its face a general surprised statement, and sometimes a compliment. but the implication, if they go overboard saying oh you look so good [now], that you looked horrible before now. i've even replied about well you're saying that until now i looked really bad. lol.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astrophe View Post
So what if it was? It is in the past. It isn't you any more.

Seems silly to keep what iffing it and poking at it.

A.
Well, you may be right.... Honestly, I think it was the experience of seeing myself on video that really gobsmacked me....

I mean, truth be told, in retrospect I don't respect MYSELF that much the way I was before-- I was more than 100lbs overweight, totally out of shape, a secret binge eater-- and constantly in denial about how a lot of my misery was of my own making.... '

But I remember so many occasions when people would just kind of dismiss me, or seem surprised when my exterior didn't match my professional accomplishments, and then I'd tell myself that it wasn't true, that nobody cared how I looked, and I probably didn't look as bad as I thought-- so it pains me now to realize that I DID look as bad as I thought....

But thank god, I had the presence of mind to FINALLY change it.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:36 AM   #10
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Complex one this. People say the same to me, and I had the experience when I went to collect something from my doctor that she did not know who I was! I think the journey does change us. I think we are essentially the same, but as you go along the complex road that is weight loss, elements of your personality change, ergo you are not the same person.
Interesting, and needs more thought !
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:59 AM   #11
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In general, whenever it comes to comments, I try to think about the intentions of the person saying the comment. If I believe they meant to say something nice, I ignore the words and focus on the sentiment

However, that phrase "you don't even look like the same person," rubs me the wrong way personally. I haven't had anyone say it to me, but my roommate made that comment about Jennifer Hudson when she saw one of the new Weight Watchers commercials, and I practically bristled, responding "I don't see that - I thought she was gorgeous before, and I think she's gorgeous now."

What I do recognize though, is that I have no problem with that comment if it's made because of a hair cut or make up job. I'm pretty sure the reason I dislike that phrase when applied to weight loss is because, when I hear it, my brain interprets it as, "You're a totally different person," not simply a comment based on appearance. I've walked through so many years of my life believing that family, friends, and strangers have been passing judgment on me based solely on my weight. I think my brain interprets this compliment as confirmation of all those negative thoughts. It doesn't hurt that it's so easy to interpret that comment as "Well, if they're saying I look totally different now, and that I look great now, they're saying I looked like crap before..."

But, whenever those compliments are given that rub me the wrong way, I always try to mentally return to the idea that someone is trying to be nice to me.... and I'd certainly rather they tried to be nice than tried to mean
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:08 PM   #12
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I am not getting where saying someone doesn't look like the same person has any implication about personality. They are talking about your appearance and then you are extrapolating from that that they mean you are acting like a different person. Maybe you feel like a different person and thus assume when people say that that they mean more?

I had a woman at my work say that she thought I didn't work there anymore and was someone else. That I look like a whole new person. Well, I do. But we talked after and it was a normal, same conversation as we would have had before. I have had people who knew me before I gained the weight say that I look like I looked when I was 20. It is not a personality statement.

The reinvention comment is a little different, but the idea of taking "you look like a new person" at anything more than face value is silly. Unless it is prefaced or followed by an insult about how you used to look, I wouldn't think of it as a judgment but an observation.if you had dyed your hair and started wearing suits when you had always been a jeans and t-shirt person, would you take that comment as a judgment statement?
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:38 PM   #13
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for me, it's the way they emphasize how good i look "now" and say oh you look so different. hmmmm....not rocket science there. if all they did was just say 'oh you look different, did you change your hair or something? well it looks nice" then it wouldn't be a big deal. big difference there.

as far as thinking you were treated differently before you lost weight, well you may have been, and yes, if people are seeing such a 'different' person, then yeah, weight could have been the reason you were treated differently before losing compared to now. i'm not saying it's 'right' but it's a common experience.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:59 PM   #14
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If you were all fancied up for an occasion and someone gushed about how beautiful youl look TODAY, would you see an implied insult about the way you look any other day?

I am not talking about backhanded compliments like "you are so much prettier!" or things like that. I just generally think people need to stop looking for second meanings in what people say. The only one it serves to make feel bad is you and it isn't worth it. If you search for unhappiness, you will find it. Maybe I am dumb and people are really meaning mean things when they say nice things, but I would rather be happy.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:20 AM   #15
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gushing over me spiffed up for an occasion is fine if it's done without sounding like "oh, you look horrible unless you're dressed up". i've had it happen both ways. and, i've been treated totally opposite when i've been dressed totally opposite, sometimes even by the same people. so how you look can often significantly affect how others treat you. i try not to do that to other people as much as i can.

i handle those situations in different ways. usually now i might just say thank you the first time they say it, if it's in public, and then if they keep repeating it i will point out how it sounds. i know that some people are just trying to be nice and dont' know how to give a compliment.
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