I was talking to Chloe earlier about what we described as our shared inability to accept compliments, but the more we talked, the more it dawned on both of us that the problem was, perhaps, that neither of us were particularly good at even recognizing when we were being complimented in the first place.
The conversation started upon seeing mutual friends take credit for comments that weren’t, necessarily, compliments aimed in their direction, all the while taking great pains to ensure that everyone knew just how humble they really were, of course. It was something that amused both of us, not only in how obvious their egos were, but in the fact that both of us realized quickly that we lacked whatever DNA we needed to do the same thing.
Instead, both of us have something that could, at best, be described as an anti-ego: something that hears a comment about us and immediately assumes, if not the worst, then at least the most bland and generic. We could both receive compliments that seemed on the face of them to be sincere and wholehearted, and instead either hear them as half-hearted attempts in the name of being polite, or else subtle sarcasm intended to suggest that we’re actually the very opposite of whatever was actually being said.
Such an anti-ego can be both a blessing and a curse — although mostly the latter. There is the upside of it preventing either of us from getting a big head, which is always a preferred outcome… but then there’s the fact that neither of us are particularly gracious in the face of people who genuinely are trying to compliment us, because we simply don’t quite believe what they’re saying. Instead, we both just have developed the impulse to mumble semi-gracious thanks before desperately trying to change the subject as quickly as possible.
Thinking about it, it’s good that neither of us have won any kind of award. Just imagine how bad the acceptance speech would be.