Here’s my lesson for the day: be proud of who you are. Embrace it. Love it.
And, never worry that you have defend yourself for being authentically you. (Obviously unless you are unkind, hurt others, or are continuously called out for your behaviors. In that case, it might be worth looking inward for some self-reflection. Sending positive thoughts your way.) (Drop the ego.)
The people who demand it of you probably aren’t worth your time or energy, though it can be fun to get a little creative for next time.
Drop the Ego
Originally posted in the September 2015 edition of the CU Denver Advocate.
Egos, if not properly maintained, can be a vapid nightmare. Although I will be the first to point out everyone’s worth and encourage strong self-esteem, I can’t pretend that some egos aren’t toxic. To combat the epidemic, let’s not completely settle into our roles and let them define us.
Since living in Denver I’ve had many opportunities to visit my
boyfriend at Colorado School of Mines, where he’s studying to be an engineer. Once, during my freshman year, I met some of his peers at a dorm reunion barbecue. It was pleasant and endearing until one acquaintance asked me what I was studying. When I said English, he replied with, “Do you really need a degree for that? I mean, can’t you just write a blog?”
The ills of the ego, am I right? Although that comment was offensive on every front, and had me venting to my boyfriend more than he probably liked, I’ve used it to my advantage. Now when I visit Mines I play a game: my cover story is that I’m a math major. I’ll come up with creative answers, while smiling and laughing with the people who know me best. Most importantly, I have a great time.
Acting out a cover story isn’t a matter of being ashamed of who I am and what I do. I’ve found that it’s the best way to make sure that my own ego doesn’t inflate, while having a few laughs in the process.
While working in the newspaper industry, I have come across the best kind of people—intelligent, kind, empathetic—who seem to battle with their own egotistic tendencies. To be successful, however, it’s important to drop the attitude and not let terms such as editor or writer or boss come to overshadow the other parts of ourselves. Accept the criticism with a nod rather than a defensive statement. Self-importance shouldn’t always be the default.
In Denver, I’m a writer. In Golden, I’m a math major. But always, I’m just myself. We aren’t all destined to play one role. Without changing who we are, we adjust with our attitudes, day in and day out.