Recently, when I came to the realization of my foolish pride I kept thinking about the moment in Shrek 1 when Shrek tells Donkey that just like an onion, he is layered. I can’t remember what sparked the conversation about the onion, but it stuck in my mind when I was confronting myself. I’ve found myself relating to that analogy more with each passing day as I come to terms with my status of friendships with girlfriends I thought I’d have for life. Also, how my pride has sometimes left me isolated from relating to people.
It’s easy to become blind to how the ego goes about defending us from the things we feel are a personal attack on our characters. It’s hard to feel vulnerable to family, friends and strangers about who we are since it can often conflict with an idea we’ve built of ourselves. The flip side of that is that it’s easier to get into a defensive mode because the ego needs to feel protected, so it can lash out without considering the consequences. For a long time I was unaware of my ego’s defences, I just took it as me-looking-out-for-me, yet it was when a good friend made me aware of how I’d react when my ego was triggered that I finally accepted what was really happening. For example, I would get very defensive when he’d ask that we use my car. My natural thought was that there was another friend’s car that could be used so why would we need to use mine. It was when he made me mindful to the fact that he understood that my defensiveness stemmed from the fact that I was often used by varsity mates when they needed to be driven around.
I don’t consider myself an egotistical or overtly proud person but in recent times I’ve learnt that the ego can blind one in subtler ways. I thought that with the passing of time and the detachment from people or circumstances that did not serve me, that I would then be healed from the pain that may have arisen from the relationships. Instead my ego taught itself to protect me by retaliating to anything which might trigger my past pain. Not realising that I needed to forgive the things that had happened because I was a part of enabling the negative acts in these relationships. Beyond that I also learnt that the lesson lies in me seeing the truth about myself and people. Yet as much as I freed myself from the negativity I still had another blind spot, pride.
Pride in love doesn’t work because we’ve been explicitly told by the bible that “love is not proud”, but it can often be a foreign concept when applying it to life. How can you realize that it’s your pride in play at times, when you think that you’re genuinely acting in the best interest of your character? Shit I wish I had the answer to that question because I still have my moments of not knowing when my pride is damaging or helping me. Either way I’m learning that pride doesn’t always serve your course, it can often leave you unable to empathise with other human beings and even yourself. Especially since I recently told my mom that “I feel lonely”.
Peeling back the layers
My pride may have left me feeling lonely and slightly isolated from people, but it has opened me up to peeling back the layers. I’ve created this layer to shield my core and protect it against the shit of the world because I’ve felt so much disappointment and pain from people I had high expectations of. Yet isn’t that the thing of the ego, to put expectations on people without fully allowing them to reveal themselves in all their shades?
All I know for myself is that there isn’t anything wrong in feeling and letting go of disappointment, pain and regret; instead I’m focusing on celebrating love and “love is not proud”.
Love & happiness,