Hey Brad! Thanks for the response! Here are some more of my thoughts:
It's interesting, alright. Over the past year I've lost 30 pounds, and of course people notice that kind of thing, and will comment. I've heard everything from "you're disappearing" to "I'm jealous" to "are you eating?" - and these comments coming from my loved ones! There was the odd, "good for you, you look amazing" but it seemed most of the comments were rooted in other peoples insecurities.
And not to mention the new attention from the opposite sex. This I'm still not used to. It's been a pretty interesting journey to start at a place where men noticed my friends to a place where men notice me. And I'm not saying that this is purely physical because this body transformation goes hand in hand with some pretty intense emotional/mental/spiritual work that I've been doing too. It's just intriguing to witness how people's perceptions of me have changed - or perhaps I would argue how my perceptions of people's perceptions of me have changed. [rattles head, blinks]
Last night's comment impressed me because of the content. You're really fit. This was not junked up on someone else's s***, nor was this a comment about weight loss. This was a true recognition of my improved health and a testament to my commitment. It tickled me pink (or is that the sunburn? ;) Health is the essence of my career, and my life. Another beautiful comment I've received was from one of my all-time, top 5, mentor, favorite women who said, "Wow! You're a tribute to the work you're doing [as a Naturopathic Doctor]!" I think this had the same implication of a) dedication, b) awareness, c) positive behavior modelling (important for my patients), and d) straight up health. Good on me! I am in the best shape of my life - I'm really excited about that! Everything I have gained on this journey can be transferred to my patients. If I can help someone else feel this good, I would be exstatic.
At first I was really awkward about it, and tried to avoid the comments, but after I while, and after I got more comfortable in my smaller body I was just able to say, "Thank you, I've been working hard, I'm really proud of myself."
I think in general that people have trouble accepting compliments gracefully, often because of what you mentioned, Brad: the fear of being percieved as vain. As I alluded to earlier, what other people think isn't our issue. People will think what they will, and there is nothing we can do about it. Don't own it, don't spend time on it. Something I've learned is that the things/people/comments/events that we react to are not about the things/people/comments/events at all, but about our selves and how we CHOOSE to react to those things/people/comments/events. The trick is recognizing what you're meant to learn. But, I do think it is important to recognize our accomplishments and be proud of ourselves. We don't need to go posting it on billboards but if some one says something amazing like, "You're really fit," I think the most graceful thing to do is say, "Thank you". Of course often these comments catch us off guard, and I also think it's ok to let out that surprised, "Oh!" slip out before the thank you.
Anyhoo, clearly I could talk for days about this, but it's time to go get my (simple)fit on!