If you care, don’t let them know. Don’t give yourself away.
I do let them know. It’s a compulsion. My inability to keep thoughts to myself is likely one of the more regrettable aspects of my personality. I long to be an enigmatic figure but I bring shame to my stoic waspy roots by being overly forthcoming in almost every aspect of my life. I make jokes where none are expected. I comment freely when no one has asked. I spend more time self-evaluating than anybody ought to be able to and still manage to reach the conclusion that my life is pretty great.
Part of it comes from the unreasonably high self-esteem I get to walk around with, because it is categorically easier to go through life as an educated white person with adequate resources and the unconditional support of loved ones. I know that everyone struggles and downward social comparisons are offensive, but they are also helpful if your goal is to not be a dick.
Truth: my life is easier than most people’s lives. Truth: I worked hard to be where I am. Truth: I did so with an incredible amount of love and support in a system designed for me to succeed and that ain’t nothing. For these truths, I choose to be grateful rather than to be proud. I am grateful that I have people in my life telling me I’m doing a good job. It is because of them that I believe it. Pride is a vice; it does not lead to freedom. At worst it leads to resentment of others who fail to reflect your elevated vision of yourself back to you. At best it leads to unmitigated self-absorption, and the universe knows my generation does not need more of that.
Gratitude is a virtue that begets humility and hard-work. Because I have been given many advantages, I choose to heed Kendrick and sit down, be humble. I have been provided with circumstances that have encouraged me to work hard and flourish. I am in a position to contribute positively to my community. For this, I am grateful. I am seated and striving for humility.