"Wow, you're so smart! I bet you're going to go to Yale."
"What?! No way, I'm such a failure; are you kidding me?"
..Seriously, what is that? Looking at those words on the page, it looks idiotic. But truly, we seem incapable of accepting compliments. What is so hard about saying a simple "thank you" with a gracious smile?
It's been ingrained in us since youth that we cannot be braggarts and must be humble. And, of course, the overachiever has become the average human being in this day and age (2% acceptance rate to Harvard, anyone?); so, we outdo each other in a game of insecurity and humbleness.
But false modesty has become as irksome as pretentiousness, perhaps even more so. Why?
I believe that we cling to our little safety zone of insecurity and modesty because we're afraid to put ourselves out there. Perhaps, we think that if we say "thank you" and accept the compliments, we now have expectations put on us. We now have the responsibility of continuing to live up to those compliments. Insecurity is something we need, despite how much we outwardly wrinkle our noses at it. We're constantly comparing ourselves to other people in an attempt to keep up our belittling facade, instead of simply being who we are. Self-consciousness is practically a staple quality in every person these days–even in males.
Humans are strange creatures, huh?
I think the lesson at the end of the day is that it is what it is. You have to know what you are, who you are, and accept that. Be honest with people, as much as possible (believe it or not, honesty is not always the best policy...). And sometimes, those lessons drilled into us from toddlerhood can be as deprecating as those not taught to us.
Moderation is key–moderation in all things, including moderation.
(And hi there! Nice to meet you!)