Around the year 2000 I went on several dates with a professional woman. By the third date, however, she’d had enough. She’d decided I was too cocky and I needed taking down a peg or two. She spoke out, telling me I was ‘arrogant, over-confident and full of it’.

Yet this intended insult produced an instant and genuine response that she wasn’t expecting.

‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about me.’

Indeed, I bristled with pride. After all those years of being under-confident – of loathing my inability to feel, see and do the right thing because of the insecurities that hijacked my rational brain at every turn: forcing me into, at best, shyness and, at worst, angry defensiveness – someone was insulting me ...

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