thoughts

Accepting and giving compliments

By |November 13th, 2014|Recent news|0 Comments

Since my teens I’ve found it difficult to accept compliments. It’s hard to describe why.

I felt that in my pre-teens I had a cult-of-personality developed on my behalf. I was on top of the world and capable of anything and was told so. I was by no means a prodigy, but I was surprised by how I was consistently doing better than my peers in a school system that accepted the most able in the community. I was reasonably popular and had become accustomed to winning votes, favour, recognition and privilege (if missing classes to attend school councils can be considered privilege!). These kinds of things go to a child’s head. I had visions of grandeur.

I had a few knocks in my life that ensured that I could not rest assured of comfort and happiness. I was generally a happy child and, although I fared less well than most of my peers, I had a privileged enough existence. Yet I cannot blame these knocks for what changed my outlook on life.

It was a dream. I saw myself in the third person. Brash. Arrogant. Imposing. Still popular, but naive; I couldn’t see for myself the effects of my cockiness on others. In my nightmare, it resulted in someone else dying. My conscience is such that that outcome was worse than it might have been had I been murdered as a result of my deeds. It was truly a personalised nightmare.

I changed after that. Immeasurably so. I found compliments hard to accept. I rejected the praise of my achievements, my abilities and my character because they felt like they would contribute to the development of the bad aspects of my character.

But as I have found it difficult to receive compliments, so I’ve avoided giving compliments. There have been wonderful people that I’ve encountered, but I haven’t praised them as I should. In my mind, I felt, “If I don’t want to receive positive comments, why would I expect other people to want to receive them?” Furthermore, perhaps I’d be saving them from the same nightmare.

I’ve had to get better at receiving compliments. People have told me so! I’m getting better. I’ve also had to get better at giving compliments. But I’m still not perfect. I go for compliment-overkill sometimes. But in my mind, they are deserved and remain difficult to deliver. So if I compliment you, please believe it and cherish it!

Early experiences of being asexual

I thought I’d share some of my recent experiences of being an “out” asexual. This covers a period of between one and two years.

I won’t say that the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive; rather, it hasn’t been negative. But that was very much in line with expectations. I didn’t want a mardi gras in my honour or to be commended by the town mayor; it’s just not that major. However, it did feel like a major thing at the time. It was the culmination of a process of realising that how I felt was broadly in line with the definitions of this thing called “asexuality”.

The biggest problem with telling people is that it’s not mainstream. In general, it’s not that well understood among the wider population. As a thing, it’s quite young, but what’s worse is that it’s hard to understand. For many asexuals, understanding sexuality is difficult; in a society where sexuality is not only the norm but, to some extent, a form of currency*, understanding what it is like to have that element removed must be almost impossible.

Since that time, I’ve been trying to meet other asexual people (albeit online) through specialist asexual social and “dating” websites. I’ve met some really lovely people through those sites — both in the UK and much, much further afield — and, who knows, perhaps one day I will meet some of them face-to-face. That prospect excites me. I still haven’t knowingly met another asexual in the flesh.

It leads to the question of dating and romantic relationships. I’ve given it a lot of thought, but there do not seem to be many answers, so perhaps I’m wasting my time. However, never say never.


* When I say sexuality is a form of currency, I don’t actually mean prostitution. Heard of the phrase “sex sells”? Then you must know what I mean. So many adverts — and products themselves — are presented on the premise that it is in some way associated with sex.