Now, I have a low—if it’s extant at all—self-efficacy about most things. Learning that word at thirty-seven did nothing but make me feel bad about my vocabulary. I wish I’d known it when I was twelve. But I’ve never been good at compliments, even when it was something I knew I was good at doing. After high school, I clerked for an options trader who ended up getting me a job as a stock clerk. When he was selling my skills to my impending new boss, I had to skip out even though—sure, I knew the appraisal of my skills was accurate. I got better about it in undergrad, as high marks are about as objective as you can get. But I’m not sure I was actually complimented on it. These days, I get complimented and I still have no idea how to react.

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