I think it’s important to be confident. I preach it, if subliminally, on every post on this blog. I say it outright to family and friends all the time. But there is a difference between confidence and egoism. And I, unfortunately, continue to watch others fight for control, silently wondering which characteristic will take control of the persona on any given day. And my own character is not immune from this fight. I know it, and I try to control it; yet I, too, sometimes succumb to egoism.
The question is why. Isn’t it always? And I particularly find this to be the case with girls. It starts young. In elementary school, the bragging began. Which is something I always find to be particularly amusing—little girls already acting proud and righteous about the possessions their parents bought them and that most would probably break in a day. I cannot tell you all how many times other girls bullied me, because I did not wear my hair in the latest fashion, did not possess the latest “cool” CD, did not wear the “right” clothes or the “right” shoes or watch the “right” TV shows.
And it’s worse today. There weren’t iPhones or iPods when I was growing up, and there certainly weren’t little 6-year-olds running around texting their friends at recess and bragging about their latest toy from Apple… only to drop it in a puddle in the minutes to come. Come on, parents. Do children really need an iPhone to call you when you’re late picking them up from soccer practice? I fear society is heading in a very dangerous direction… especially for future kid bullies.
As children grow older, the egoism morphs from its core in commercialism to include attitude and composure. And this is often when the emotional taunting and bullying begins among young girls, at least in my experiences. In middle school, the cliques form. I was never part of a clique, all the way through my senior year of high school. Sometimes, it meant I had no one. Other times, it was freeing. I moved from circle to circle, picking and choosing those who appealed most to me, and when egoism started to dominate in a girl, I moved on to the next, never worrying that I would no longer have a core group on which I could rely and depend. But more times than often, I was lonely. Not having a clique also meant not having friends to fall back on in times of despair.
But I was okay. I learned how to be resilient. I built my integrity, and I kept composite control of my character—a blend of confidence and egoism.
Sometimes I feel we measure our lives according to the brands we possess. The latest gadgets from Apple, designer clothes, foreign cars. Sometimes I feel people use the latest luxurious labels to fuel their egoism and then use their egoism to fuel their happiness. And I do NOT think this approach works. More often than not, in my encounters, it leads to divides among friends; there is nothing flattering about being fake. And, to me, real is having heart and passion and maybe stumbling along the way, but knowing that you are proud of the person you claim to be and do not need anything—be that expensive labels—or anyone to speak for your character.
Here’s my whole theory—one I’ve expressed since day one of this blog, and one that has undoubtedly been discussed before. It is never one or the other, whether we like it or not. Just as we can all claim to be victims of bullying, we have all, at one time or another, been the bully. And just as we all wish to tell others, and ourselves, that it is simply confidence we are displaying in our interactions with others, sometimes it is egoism.
I think the important thing at the end of the day is to just know who you are and live your life with strength and determination and of your own accord. If you let others diminish you through their own stubborn pride and egoism, then you are being foolish. Be proud of who you are! Be confident! I can promise you that you will go far if you know who you are.