Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Heroes In Our Own Stories

I was listening to the new partner that I'm working with this year when I realized how many stories she tells about herself. She's a young, twenty-something college graduate who is working part-time while studying for her M-CAT. She was telling story after story about herself and her accomplishments and her self-assured attitude....not in an overly obnoxious way, though I may feel differently once an entire year of listening to her stories has gone by.

It made me remember that the first partner I had in this job was the same way. She would frequently go on about her police background and work for Homeland Security and any other thing that seemed noteworthy. Whether all of her stories were true, I could never really tell. I never put it past people to have a self-aggrandized view of themselves.

I wondered why people tend do this. Is it for others, or for themselves? Are they reassuring the people around them that they are competent, smart adults, or are they reassuring themselves that they are not completely ignorant failures?

I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

I asked myself if I was guilty of this particular habit...and I think that I am, albeit in a slightly different way. I moderate my self-aggrandizement with a tad of self-effacement. Throwing a little bit of humility in the mix gives me more freedom to wax eloquent about my many virtues!

Self-aggrandizement. Now, with more subtlety!

Maybe it's a natural urge to make ourselves the heroes in our own stories. The alternative is that we make ourselves the villain in our stories.

Then again, maybe that's why we have to be heroes in our boring, ordinary lives...to fight off the sneaking suspicion that we sometimes are villains.


DH said...

Did you ever know that you're my hero, and everything I would like to be? ;o)

Retriever said...

I'm sure I do it, and probably annoy people by doing it, but know for myself that it's insecurity and feelings of inadequacy underlying the blather...I find that often it's only things in the past that seem worth talking about. My current life is exceptionally mundane, boring and really quite trying (except for the escape of photography and blogging). SO I try to be charitable when other people annoy me by bragging and being drama queens and self-advertising. Nobody secure needs to...

Sabio Lantz said...

I see this all the time.

But one habit I find more disturbing is how people don't ask each other questions about the other. Instead they just talk about themselves and wait for the other person to stop to grab the conversation back to themselves.

I work with two different bosses in two offices and I know lots about them, but they would never ask anything about me. I find this most common.