What's today'topic?" My boyfriend asks at breakfast.
"A Secret Skill I have," I cock my head and look at him. "Fact: As an megalomaniac, I have no secret skills, and will or have absolutely told you about all of my skills."
Without missing a beat, he replies. "And there's the bad habit to write about."
I missed writing yesterday. I didn't want to, but I did and oh well. Writing for 14 days straight (I started early) has been fun. And fundamentally, I'm all for days of rest as a concept.
I wasn't going to write about being an egotist as my bad habit. I was going to write about this weird thing I do where I bite my cuticles and can't stop and the many ways I have tried to alleviate it over the years, but yeah, comparatively, that's a cop-out. Writing about being an egomaniac is much more flashy.
Words "egotistical" and "megalomaniac" I adopted over time after hearing them or seeing them painted on dastardly characters I liked. (Oh Lestat, what a babe!), but they don't quite fit. Certainly the head of our government this year has redefined what it means to be a megalomaniac, and I am decidedly lacking.
Merriam Webster define egotism as:
1. excessive use of the first person singular personal pronoun:the practice of talking about oneself too much
2. an exaggerated sense of self-importance
Close, but not quite. Not the perfect adjective.
In high school, I discovered Johari and Nohari windows. Straight from them:
"The Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up."
Johari is the good qualities. See mine here.
Nohari is the bad qualities. See mine here.
Unpicked by me but rated extremely highly in the Nohari was "self-satisfied." Let's see about that one:
Self-satisfaction -a usually smug satisfaction with oneself or one's position or achievements.
Ah, yes. That fits the bill. Maybe when I was 18 I suffered from delusions of glory, but thankfully I read enough Ayn Rand to get tired of it and yank myself from the grips of fanatical selfishness. Not bad selfishness. Not a "Mine, mine, mine" Scrooge McDuck selfishness with no regard for helping other people. I could give, I could help. I can self-sacrifice with the best. But certainly a sense of, "I am amazing and wonderful. Hear me roar!"
However, I didn't realize thinking and proclaiming to the world that I was great could tell other people they weren't. When I see Heidi Klum, I don't think "Oh god, I'm so ugly." When I see Elon Musk or Bill Gates, I don't think, "Oh god, I'm such an idiot." When I see anything anyone with traits that are fantastic or desirable, it doesn't bring to mind my deficiencies. For me it brings about a wave of fresh enthusiasm, "Hot damn! How do I get there?" With a healthy balance of knowing I might not get there. I might not ever be that beautiful or rich and famous, but I don't care because I love my life. It was a shock to me to learn that when others see you being successful, it can make them feel bad about their own accomplishments. It's the now well-studied "social media" effect whereby people because sad and jealous upon seeing the apparent happiness of others.
I don't like that effect, I want to reign in the part of being self-satisfied that makes people feel bad. That's why being an egoist remains relegated to "bad habit".
There is, though, a silver lining to knowing you have a big ego. With enough practice and control you can start throwing it around for other people. If I know someone has good ideas but are too timid or quiet to bring them up in meetings with the bullheads, I can throw in for them. (Always, always, always if you bring up an idea that's well received, credit the owner. You get as much respect for good ideas as you do crediting your peers). If someone makes feels awkward and shy, I can make the joke all on me knowing in 10 minutes I won't care while they may have fretted all day. Helping others, as always, is the penance to the sin.