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Why I don't take complements well?

introspect2 min read

I introspect.

During one of those sporadic instances, I came across this theory of why I feel weird when someone complements me, specifically for work.


Someone at work reached out to me about software system behaviour query. I knew everything about that part of the system. So I explain them how it works and why is it behaving the way it is. This is how conversation went after that.

They: "AMAZING - you're the best! Thanks for taking the care to look into this."

Now you may think this is not big deal, may be people are used to say nice things in workplace. But my naive self takes things literally when people thank!

Me: "Haha! I''s not a big deal, like, I get paid to do this!"

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I suddenly become awkward. I start feeling weird. I don't know how to reciprocate to that. It was like I couldn't find words on top of my mind. That I had to think later after I fumbled a couple of times when this happened.

You got that right! I know this well, coz I've spent couple of nights understanding this complex piece.

I just got lucky that I came across this earlier!

Oh I'm glad I could be of help!

After thinking em all, I decided to go with last one.

There! Problem solved. But why did I feel this way?

  • I felt it wasn't big deal. I wasn't tired after answering them. It didn't take efforts to unblock them. So I don't deserve the compliment.

  • I am realising lately this is not what I want to do for living exactly. In my mind, I should have been a music producer / artist. There is nothing that I achieve in current work that would give me sense of attainment. Since all my goals are made up for logical progression of my current role, not my real interest / curiosity / passion.

  • I don't feel excited / gratified about anything I achieve at work. Since none of those achievements are my milestones sub-conciously. I don't dream anymore about next big thing at work or get excited to get that next promotion at work. In my dreams I am a music producer apart from few other things.

  • So whenever someone gives me compliment at work, I feel good, but then internally I don't feel content.

So? What now?

I don't wanna rush this change. In current stage of my life, I'll keep working and keep the wheel rolling for now. But I'll start creating music again after work, just for fun. Put it out on youtube. Work for free on some background scores / sound design projects. See where it goes from there.

It's a theory. I've shared very raw thoughts here. I've not discussed or confirmed if anyone else also feels this in my circle.

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