A quote from Ezra Pound, whose poetry I studied in grad school but never truly understood, has been running throught my brain these past few weeks:
"Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down."
So many of the interpersonal issues I encounter in the publications office seem to be a result of personal vanity. We each stand at the center of our own universe. My own offenses are legion.
My nephews, aged 5 and 8, have been taking Tae Kwon Do. On a recent Friday afternoon, they underwent a test for their first belt. They came to visit the next day and I asked them if they had passed. They told me they wouldn't find out until next week. "We have to learn to be humble," they told me.
What a wonderful lesson! Pride and vanity are not our friends. We all need to learn humility. So often we thrust our pride to the fore and it stands in the way of communication and collaboration. We do need to learn to stand up for ourselves and to not let others take advantage of us. But too often we resort to base vanity instead of true assertiveness.