I wish I could give you all the details on this story, but alas, the names must be changed to protect the innocent. It’s the right thing to do.
I had an opportunity to really see someone’s ego these past months and it was an eye opening experience. To make a long story short, I had to work with a lawyer that I quickly found I had little respect for. Don’t get me wrong, I love lawyers, and would consider going into law someday, but this particular lawyer was clearly in it for himself (read hourly billings), but was representing that he was looking out for “other concerned parties.”
I had to show him for who he was, and the only way I knew to do that was to push his buttons. I was in a power play, and I simply had no choice. So what buttons should I push?
Well, I read somewhere that one of the most telling things about someone is what they CHOOSE to do for a living. And if you think about it you’ll see it is true. So this person chose a profession where he got to sit in a really nice office (really nice!) and use his brain to try and manipulate things in his clients favor.
What better way to egg him on than to attack his proficiency as a lawyer. And his ethics. That was a mistake. You see, I hit his ego. Of course, that was what I was aiming for, but I had no idea the response I would get. You see, he hit back. Hard. Where it hurt. My ego.
So there we were, gloves off, egos raging. Insults being silently tossed across the floor.
Now I have to say, my strategy worked, he showed his true colors, in the end, and I was vindicated.
However, what about me? What was the impact on me? I ended up in an ego war, and ended up feeling bruised. From a guy I didn’t respect in the first place!
Well, I guess the lesson for me is that I am a sensitive guy, with a sensitive ego. Of course, I always knew that. But honestly, I’ve never been in an ego fight before. I’ve always protected it oh so carefully.
So here is the lesson, because we both need to learn it, apparently. When someone attacks our ego, we need to be able to say “**** off. You are a fool if you think so poorly of me. So why should I listen to the words of a fool?” If we can’t say this, then we have some work to do controlling our ego, since really in this world, we need to be able to stand alone – when we so choose to.
P.S. It’s funny but my perspective on “sticks and stones… but words will never harm me” has only now changed from one of, “that’s a falsity, of course they will” to “another person’s words only have power to hurt us if we let them have power”.