Ego Gets in the Way of Humility

Oct 8 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

The one thing about truth is that we often think it resides within us even when it does not. As honest people, we always believe what we are doing is right, and whenever we find ourselves in chaos or dispute, we tend to think others are at fault.

After all, how could we, the moral police, be wrong?

What happened to me the other day, I take it as a wake-up call to my self-righteous side.

I went to the nearest building materials store to buy a keys-lock. The lady behind the counter brought one and showed me how properly the keys work before handing them to me in a small box. After that, I went to another shop to buy things for my kids, but I did neither check nor open the box. Then I got home and took out the box to learn the missing keys.

Thinking that I must have forgotten or left them at the store, I went back to the store and told the lady the keys were missing. I politely asked her to look for them in case she misplaced them. The lady responded angrily that she opened it and showed me the keys. I thought she probably forgot to put them back in the box. The woman went ballistic. I also got mad because I was not accusing her of anything. I was asking if she had left the keys with her.

After a while, the woman said she would return the money because the lock had no value unless I had not lost them on the road home. I did not even open the box on the way home and could not have left it anywhere. There was a reason I bought the lock I wanted.

Why would I keep the keys and return the lock?

She also matched my assertiveness, saying she had shown me the keys before handing me the box. Come to think of it, she was not at her fault there. She told me I would be sorry later when I found the keys. If I ever did, I would apologize to her. She gave me my money back, which I insisted on not accepting at first. But in the meantime, I took the money and went.

I got home, mad at what had happened. I kept thinking of where I could have dropped the keys, but nothing could come to my mind. I even checked inside one of the plastic bags I was holding on the way to the store. It was not even there. Looking at my confusion, a close family member approached and reassured me that the lady was trying to cheat me. She also had an experience with the store lady once.

She bought a particular item a while ago, but it stopped working the next day. Going back to return it, the lady accused her of tampering with the item on her behalf after pointing out that it worked better when she sold it. Her words gave me peace of mind.

The funniest thing happened the next day. It is when handing the chocolates, I have bought for my kids from the other store.

Inside the other plastic bag, I saw the keys. I was shocked and embarrassed that I had to accuse the lady of lying. I would have to return the keys, pay her and get the lock back. But I could not bring myself to do it as I was ashamed of my reaction. Instead, I have sent someone to return the keys and pass my apology on my behalf. On his return, the person told me that the lady had accepted my apologies and advised me to collect my thoughts next time.

I sat on the couch for almost 30 minutes, thinking how deluded I was by then and even avoiding the possibility of being wrong.

Many of us are like that most of the time, so conceded and full of ourselves that we tend to forget that we could be wrong. I learned my lesson: no matter how right I thought I was or how positive I was, the truth could be on my side; I could always be wrong.

Apologizing is not always as easy; even in the slightest sense, saying sorry and admitting one’s mistake takes courage.

PUBLISHED ON Oct 08,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1171]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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