How to Get Over Yourself
“In all your years living on this Earth, what is your biggest life lesson,” I asked my mother on her 60th birthday. “Ego,” she said. “Every stress, every worry - it’s all because of the ego.”
Ego. noun: a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.
The night before a scheduled shoot for my blog, I always get a little nervous. I’ve been blogging for over 3 years now yet still a tiny seed of self-doubt manifests itself, making me panic about not taking good pictures or standing in the middle of a busy street being photographed for 15 minutes. Will I look stupid? Will the pictures come out right? Will people think I’m vain? Does anyone even care about what outfit I’m wearing or what I have to say? A teeny, tiny part of me hopes the photographer will cancel so that I don’t have to endure people’s stares or the angst of my own perfectionism.
Obviously, I’m not the only one that feels that way but what surprises me is the sheer number of women, in particular, who suffer similarly. What if I’m not good enough? A question invoking fear in the hearts of many that leads us to question our abilities, be anxious about life choices and stress about the future. But really, who is the judge of whether we’re good enough? Are we the ones to make that final call or is every idea or dream we have for ourselves reflected back through the eyes of others.
Who do I think I am is a question I repeatedly ask myself when I’m feeling down and deflated. I’m no fool, I know who I am so perhaps the question I’m really asking myself is who do others think I am? The ego is fragile when it comes to the opinion of others, something that has no doubt become worse living in an era where we source self-validation via likes and retweets. As a generation, we millennials are constantly watching one another and constantly being watched. Comparison is inevitable and feelings of diminished self-worth follow suit. But what I’ve found is that your news is just a moment in time, as people pass you by with a flick of a scroll. It’s almost narcissistic - though perhaps coated in insecurity and self-deprecation - to think that people would watch us so much to notice our every blunder or be offended by our every behaviour. Perhaps normal for a creative mind to be so critical of themselves but just remember that we’re actually all pretty wrapped up with our own egos to take too much notice of one another.
So, how do you get over your ego? “Be bold and determined,” Mum says.
I put up a picture last week on Instagram - y’know, your typical midweek motivational quote - with a caption reading: One day I feel super empowered, the next I'm sick and demotivated. Both days the hustle continues. And that’s really the remedy. Just get on with it, no matter what. Don’t spend so much time in your own head, just get on and do. So I get up every morning of my shoot day, put my outfit together and head out (late) to my appointment. Though I feel anxiety, I smile at people’s stares, laugh off people’s sarcastic comments and welcome those who want to jump in the pic for a quick photo op. It might seem silly to them at that moment, but in a flash they’ll be gone, busying themselves with their own lives and I’ll be a forgotten memory. If the pictures don’t come out how I want them to, I’ll reinvent some other way of editing or presenting them. I welcome the challenges and the awkwardness because I know I’ll grow, learn and get better.
In truth, no one really knows as a fact if they are good enough. They just believe it. There’s a certain amount of faith required to succeed in this world, and that plus determination should be enough to stop us from getting in our own way and truly getting over ourselves.