From the brilliant Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Jungian psychoanalyst and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves:
“There is probably no better or more reliable measure of whether a woman has spent time in ugly duckling status at some point or all throughout her life than her inability to digest a sincere compliment. Although it could be a matter of modesty, or could be attributed to shyness- although too many serious wounds are carelessly written off as “nothing but shyness”- more often a compliment is stuttered around about because it sets up an automatic and unpleasant dialogue in the woman’s mind.
“If you say how lovely she is, or how beautiful her art is, or compliment anything else her soul took part in, inspired, or suffused, something in her mind says she is undeserving and you, the complimentor, are an idiot for thinking such a thing to begin with. Rather than understand that the beauty of her soul shines through when she is being herself, the woman changes the subject and effectively snatches nourishment away from the soul-self, which thrives on being acknowledged.”
I’m a software developer.
I’ve made it in this profession in spite of the worst, most vicious male chauvinism, almost as bad as my fellow pioneers have encountered in fire and police departments.
I’m not rich, photogenic or tiny, but my profession puts me somewhere near the top of the social order, at least among educated people.
When I think about a certain gentleman and his old love affairs, it hurts my heart. Reminding myself that I’m a software developer lets me breathe again.
Today, at the gas station, I encountered a Suzanne – tiny and dark, with delicate hands. She was driving a better vehicle than mine, some kind of nondescript SUV, and I allowed her to cut me off at the pump. Of course, she didn’t acknowledge me, much less thank me.
Miraculously, when the Suzanne was done, a tall, blonde, blue-eyed woman pulled up and gave me a big smile.
She was driving a Hummer.
Bless you, bless you, Viking sister! May your tribe increase.