"54 Ways You Say You Respond to “You look so good!”", compliments of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week and Lisa J. Copen

It's almost that time of year again - National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 14-20. Be sure to mark your calendars - it was a great conference last year, and an even better one is shaping up for this year. Plus, you can go in your pajamas if you want to.

I thought the results of last year's Invisible Illness (II) Poll "Hate to Look Great?" were interesting and Lisa Copen generously shares all of her articles, so I'm reprinting it here.

How do I respond to the "You look so good" comment? Well, I'm lumping the "How are you?" question in with the "You look so good" comment here, because the former is what people tend to ask me. "I'm hanging in there" seems to be my standard response (it's #1 - must be the standard for lots of people) , but I really don't feel like that response is satisfying. In the future I might try some of "The 54," or a variation thereof... maybe add "Thanks for asking" to the old stand by. That might feel better to me for now.

54 Ways to Respond to "You look so good!"

“You look so good!” Over 1200 of you took our survey last year (you can still take it here if you want) and you shared how you respond to this compliment that pulls at the heartstrings.

Sometimes you just have to respond… a smile doesn’t say all that you want to say, but one of the temptations is to use sarcasm in our response.

Most of us can say that it depends on who says it. We may be more likely to smile and say, “If only it were true!” to a friend who doesn’t really get it. To the person behind at us the grocery store who commented about our groceries, we are more likely to say something sarcastic since we don’t have to deal with repercussions of a stressed relationship.

Just remember that our seemingly justifed bitter comments back at them can only alienate people more and it does nothing to create an awareness of invisible illness. But who of us doesn’t relate with wanting to say a few of these things on the list below?

The most telling comment I read was from a woman who simply said, “I wonder why they can’t see my pain in my eyes?” It’s a good reminder that though we sometimes think the world should accommodate our emotional needs, who around us is hurting for other reasons (divorce, loss of job, loss of loved one, etc.) and they are wondering about us, “Why can’t she see the pain in my eyes?”

Be sure to add your own at the bottom in the comments section!

1. I am hangin’ in there…
2. I am so blessed. God is so good.
3. Drugs are a wonderful thing
4. I have my good days and I have my bad days.
5. I clean up well.
6. I have my ‘good’ days….but this isn’t one of them!
7. Thanks, I wish I felt better.
8. That’s a perfect example of how you can never judge a book by it’s cover.
9. Thanks, but there are many aspects of MS which you don’t see … would you like to know more about it?
10. That’s what most people think since pain can’t be seen most of the time. Have you heard about Invisible Illness Week? It’s really helpful to let people now that most illness is invisible.
11. I’m trying to appreciate that fact. I know the day may come when I have to use a wheelchair or a cane, and my illness will be more visible.
12. You should be on the inside.
13. Thanks. I have more to be grateful for than I have to complain about - which means I have a LOT to be grateful for!
14. Well I guess I did good job on my makeup, because I am having a hard time to tell the truth.
15. …And that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
16. Powder and paint, make you what you ain’t!
17. It took a lot of work to look like this.
18. It’s God shinning through me
19. It’s nice of you to think so, but you’re missing the pain and agony that I really am in.
20. And you look so wise. Looks can be deceiving though, huh?
21. I’m having a “good face” day.
22. Yeah. My kid thinks it’s cool I’m an ill person working under-cover!
23. I do a great job hiding how I really feel.My life is still very challenging and probably will always be, but I am hanging in there, keeping a positive faith, and gratitude as THE attitude. Thanks for their concern.
24. I’m trying my best to do well OVER my circumstances instead of being under them!
25. It’s up and down.
26. I’m still struggling, but it IS nice to have a day when I am able to pull myself together and make it out of the house!
27. I’m not complaining about my looks.
28. I’m very good at pretending.
29. Good, because if I looked like I feel it would scare you to death.
30. Actually, I still am really hurting…
31. I am 36 years old outside but 85 inside
32. Thank you. I’m on my way to the Oscars.
33. Thanks, I’m grateful for this good day.
34. Things aren’t always what they seem.
35. Praise God, I’m glad that he enables me to look so much better than I feel.
36. Thanks, that’s God’s joy shining through!
37. Have you ever heard of the spoon theory?
38. I am upright which is better the alternative
39. Thanks, want to swap bodies for a few days?
40. Thanks, I guess I am fortunate that I have an illness that can’t be seen.
41. Thanks. I like good days.
42. Want to step inside my skin?
43. It’s amazing what a shower can do. I guess I am all cried out for now
44. Thanks…I wish I felt it!
45. I’m not complaining about my looks.
46. I’m very good at pretending.
47. Looks can be deceiving (and smile)
48. Thank God for makeup!
49. Thank you for caring. I try to act like I feel better than I really do.
50. Thanks, I am trying to even though it will never go away. i just try to remember things could be worse.
51. I’d be great if it wasn’t for the pain.
52. I’d complain but who wants to listen.
53. If I can’t feel good, at least I am determined to look good!
54. I’m in good shape for the shape I am in!

What do you say? Or what would you say if you could say anything (keep it clean!)*

This list can be reprinted. Please add the following at the end:
This list is compliments of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week at www.invisbleillness.com, based on a survey of over 1200 respondents. Get involved in Invisible Illness Week each year during September, including our 5-day virtual conference online.

*I'm OK with not-so-clean, if you want to leave a comment as suggested.


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