I reached 50,000 Instagram followers today so I wanted to commemorate how much I appreciate your support.

It’s been so hectic on my account due to the increase in followers. I love writing thoughtful replies to you guys, but I sadly can’t always keep up with everyone anymore due to high volumes of comments and messages, and the fact I can’t be online 24/7!

I do want to say though that I appreciate you all so much. I value your voices over your follows. I truly just want to do good by the communities I’m a part of and I want to make a difference — that’s why I started sharing my story and my intention around that hasn’t changed over the years. I value my voice because I used to be silent. And I value your voices because I know how hard it is to speak up to those close to you, let alone try to voice your truth to the world; it can be an uphill battle of many people who’d rather talk over you than listen, but I believe it’s a battle worth fighting.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering why I chose this topic for a blog post. In my early eating disorder recovery especially, I’ve experienced receiving compliments that I didn’t love. What frustrated me a lot is that if I returned to school from treatment, people were quick to say, “Oh, you look so good!” and, “You look so much better now!”. It’s not the worst thing to say in my opinion. However, it still confuses me that those compliments are viewed as acceptable. I realize it’s always not the individual’s fault for saying that — they likely learned how to say that from somewhere else and assumed it was appropriate. Those “compliments” sadly reinforce the misconception that you’re only truly struggling if you “look the part” (i.e. underweight) and that weight restoration somehow equals “recovered”.

I just wish it was common knowledge that eating disorders are mental illnesses, and that they are serious no matter if the person lost a lot of weight, gained a lot of weight, or maintained their weight in their sickness. It’s a mental illness. Perhaps you could see a difference in posture and mannerisms. Perhaps they smile, or laugh or speak more. Perhaps you would notice they react better to stressful situations. But you can’t know someone’s progress or relapse solely by looking at their body — you just can’t. So, why even put emphasis on what isn’t even relevant?

I also want to share this post to challenge you guys to compliment beyond what you visually see in your friend, or whoever you’re complimenting. It’s just a nice thing to recognize something you like about someone beyond the obvious. (And please note, just because a specific compliment doesn’t fit for you or the other person, doesn’t mean you’re locked into it. Play around with the words. Say something personal — something genuine that comes from the heart. And know that it’s also ok to compliment someone on their physical appearance — the point of this is to simply challenge ourselves to look beyond what we first see, because we are so much more than what meets they eye.)

1. I love how your face lights up when you talk about “x”.

2. Your passion always amazes me.

3. You inspire me to be a better person.

4. I appreciate you.

5. Your smile makes me smile.

6. I admire your confidence.

7. The way you carry yourself is admirable.

8. Your opinion on “x” opened up my eyes to see other perspectives.

9. Thank you for being trustworthy.

10. I am proud of you.

11. I love your fierce heart.

12. You are so resilient.

13. You bring out the best in me.

14. You’re a good listener.

15. You set such a good example.

16. You have wonderful sense of humor.

17. Thank you for being you.

18. I love your outlook on life.

19. I appreciate your friendship.

20. You’re a work of art.

21. You glow.

22. I love your authenticity.

23. I tell my other friends how amazing you are.

24. You helped me see my worth.

25. You are enough.

26. You’re a great story-teller.

27. You are brave.

28. You make me feel welcome.

29. You’re so kind.

30. Your perspective is refreshing.

31. You deserve good things.

32. I am proud of your progress.

33. You can always make me laugh.

34. You bring so much joy to my life.

35. You’re a gift to this world.

36. I love your spontaneity.

37. Your happiness is contagious.

38. What you feel matters.

39. I’m lucky to know you.

40. I love you just the way you are.

41. The world needs more people like you.

42. You’re so talented at “x”.

43. You’re so down to earth.

44. You always make my day.

45. You’re such a great friend.

46. You’re so dependable.

47. You make me feel less alone.

48. You are unique.

49. You’re wise beyond your years.

50. You are worthy.

I hope this post inspires you to think outside the box when complimenting someone! The common, “You’re beautiful!” can suffice, of course, but my favorite thing about digging deeper to compliment someone is that your words will stick with them. It’s hard to forget when someone sees you for all the incredible things you are, beyond the obvious, and wants to help you see it for yourself.

This post was originally published on LexieManion.com.