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.