Monday, October 17, 2011

All messed up

There is this one thing that I don't seem to be able to master. This one thing, though always welcome, brings with it unspeakable agony to me (there's no way you can sympathise regarding the gravity of my anguish if you haven't been in a similar situation, so don't you dare tag me as melodramatic down a couple of lines).....first making me blush, and my friends will tell you how red I go when I blush,  then 'senti' and then fumble, dismissing the otherwise worth dying for comment. A perfect recipe for spilling the beans that you just let yourself be made a fool of by your very own modesty. Made a fool of. Yes. By yourself. Now how does that feel?
I am talking about praise, or rather its troublesome offshoot- handling praise.

Before you start telling me that I am just a normal case suffering from low self esteem, I might as well tell you that I suffer from a superiority complex, a severe one, however contradictory to your common sense that might sound in the present context.
So no question of feeling awkward with a compliment that has no sign of ingratiation.
But i do feel awkward with a genuine praise coming my way (and so many do, when you are sorrounded with juniors for most part of the day). In fact, I am better off handling flattery. No awkwardness, no fumbling. I let the ingratiation go on and when it comes to an end by itself, I duly give a return gift with a return compliment that smacks of as much exaggeration as the original one ( and I am really talented at resisting a hearty laugh and maintaining a super cool, poker face) or just say something sarcastic. That seems easier to do than genuinely accept the praise with a smile and a thankyou without giving the unnecessary return compliment.
 As I was explaining, I am not low on self esteem. In fact I am this big fat narcissist who can go on and on and on while talking about her prized characteristics. It is just that what I seem to be able to carry off so brilliantly, I don't let anybody handle it that well. Massaging my ego, that is.
Studying Psychology was supposed to enable me to decode my enigmatic self. Alas! in this case, it has only made me more confused with its barrage of stuff unrelated to my problem (I was just going through an article 'the science of praise' in Psychology Today). Increasingly able to deconstruct people's personality, but nowhere close to demystifying my own. Huh.

Ok as I type this with my eyebrows relaxed now and my lips curved, I am actually reliving some of the best compliments I have ever been given- "my role model" (by a classmate and a roommate), "my angel" (by a friend)"a sure IAS officer in the near future" (this one by many), "a pure soul" (by a classmate), "a great one" (Dr. Khosla) and many others (no pleasure in making you think, "Oh this girl has a serious obsession with herself") by many special people, some sadly forgotten. And guess what? It doesn't matter that I didn't handle those very gracefully. What matters is they carved their little own places in my heart very quickly, to be ever present and give me solace when another such compliment comes my way and I mess it up, yet again.


  1. It is difficult to handle praise at times, especially when it gets too much and you know your haven't scaled Everest yet to deserve it.

    Good one!


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