A friend of mine posted something recently about being humble, about not succumbing to ego. And that started me thinking more about the whole topic of ego. Ego is a liar. But ego is not just a liar, but also a thief. Ego not only has the potential to rob great men (and women!) of what it was that actually gave them greatness, but it robs each of us of becoming all we can be.
Just such a short time ago, I lived in a shell in a hole in a tunnel under dark clouds. Why did I live there? Because I was afraid. I knew – with certainty – that I was not good enough. That I was not deserving of being out of that hole. Of standing out in a night sky under millions of stars, and being seen by each of them. Of standing in the sunlight, and letting each ray touch each pore of my skin (not being naked, although perhaps why not?), being okay with letting every facet of who I am be exposed to the world.
I was not good enough to be a writer – though that is what I’ve always been compelled to do. I would – will – never be Rowling, or Shakespeare, or Thoreau. But finally it dawned on me – I’m not supposed to be. I’m supposed to be Williams. Even the sound of my name has a commonness to it. An “every man” quality. But that is who I am. I am not Rowling, I am not Shakespeare, I am not Thoreau. I am Jean. The raw, real, reality of who Jean is. But finally I realized that EGO was keeping me from being spectacularly and gloriously Jean.
Perhaps a Jean is not a spectacular thing. Perhaps I will never find the business savvy of my dreams and own a huge company known for being the best place to work in the world. Perhaps I will never amass a huge fortune only so I can give it away MY way, and help people the ways I wish I could help them. Perhaps even, I will never be brave enough to be accepted to volunteer the places and ways I have wished to – the places I have actually been turned away from, because they did not even want me as a volunteer. Perhaps my writing will never touch millions of people, will never change the world. Perhaps all of that is true. But still ego was robbing me of being what I actually am. Of doing those things that me, in my me-ness can actually do. Of being the spectacularly imperfect, modest, plain-Jean person that God (the universe) intended me to be. So perhaps I am “just me” – but ego is as much a robber of “just me”s as it is of those intended for greatness, who lose it all by letting ego overcome them.
I will no longer apologize for not being great. I will no longer allow my thoughts of mediocrity to keep me from finding out all of what I really am. There is a place for me in this world. Whether it be a small place, or a large place, it is still an important place. It is a place that would have only a hole without me. I would rather fill every corner of the space given me with all of what I have to give it – than to leave that hole, and let the world down with a lack of me. This is not ego. This is sending ego packing. Realizing that I not only CAN be me – but that I have an obligation to be me, to the best of my ability. That there are things in this world that only I can do – that only I will do, that will not be done without me to do them. Ego, take a hike. I am ME. And all of what I am, good, bad, and silly around the edges – is EXACTLY what I want to be.