Day 142: Pride and Perfection

This blog-post is a continuation to the post 'Day 141: Pride - The Root of All Sin?', please read it for context.

In my previous post, I mentioned how I connected pride to ‘being proud’ when having accomplished something, where when I had done something ‘well’, I was placed in the limelight for a moment as a congratulation on my success.

Within my childhood, these moments were frequent. It started when I was in my ‘3rd toddler class’ – the year before first grade. In that year, my brother had started to teach me how to read. I’m not entirely sure how it started, but I think I was just fascinated by the things he was learning since he was 4 years older than me and I probably asked him to teach me how to read, or he just proposed to teach me. So, when we had time, he would teach me how to read letters and I started learning to read one-syllable words. In third toddler class, you mostly just play all day, but I started sitting with a piece of paper and try to write words. I would practice the ones that Gabriel, my brother, had taught me and I would try new ones on my own. I asked my teacher to check it once and she asked how it is I knew how to read and write, so I told her my brother had taught me some. One day she gathered the whole class and together we went to the first grade class. She said ‘I have something to show everyone! Maite here can read already! You don’t have to believe me, I’ll show you’. They had a train with letters and she started taking pieces of the train to form words, I was anxious, because, well, I only knew so many words, so I was hoping she wouldn’t make a word I didn’t know how to read. She made the word ‘sun’ and asked me to read it. I was relieved, I knew that one, so I said ‘sun’. Then she did a few others, and I knew them all. Everyone clapped and I felt a bit awkward. For one, because I wasn’t sure why they were making a big deal out of it – I just had an interest and did it for myself, I enjoyed it. Second, because I couldn’t REALLY read, I only knew one-syllable words and not even all of them, so I felt like a fraud.

From then on, I created a reputation of being ‘smart’. For my first graded report in 1st grade, I had the maximum marks on all tests and so had 100% on my report. That day, I had taken a ride with my friend to ballet class and my mom had gone to pick up my report, so I didn’t know what it said. When I came home from ballet class, I found my mother in tears. I thought ‘oh no, was it that bad!’ Then she came and she hugged and kissed me and I still didn’t understand what was happening. My brother came and showed me the report and said: ‘you have 100%!’ I looked at the report, and it showed all the tests and the marks, which were all the maximum ad then the ‘sum’ of 100% at the bottom. I thought, well, yes, I knew all the answers, so it makes sense, no? Again I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal, because I just did what they told me to do and answered the questions on the tests. I understood everything, so I could answer everything. But it seemed, from how they were behaving, that this wasn’t normal. I wasn’t sure why they were proud of me, because I didn’t ‘do’ anything special, I just ‘did it’.

And it continued like that mostly throughout my school years, I didn’t have any problems with anything really. When I got to 4th grade, my mom started becoming worried about me. I’m not sure why, but she thought I was changing and she thought I must be bored in school. She asked me if I was and I said ‘maybe, I suppose’. She asked the principal if it would be possible for me to skip a year and I did. I struggled initially when I was trying to catch up with the material from the year before on my own time, but by Christmas I had gone back to top of the class grades.

In anything else I did outside school, I seemed to be ‘naturally’ proficient as well. Whether it was drawing school, ballet, music, flute – I was always in the ‘top of the class’ and each time I was told I was ‘gifted’.

So, within my childhood years, I had many moments where I was placed in the limelight, where people were ‘showing off’ with me or using me as an example to others. Although I enjoyed those moments, because they made me feel good about myself, at the same time I was not happy with the way people saw me and the expectations they had. I felt pressured to perform well in every area of my life. It started to think that people, and specifically adults, liked me only because I was ‘successful’, to call it that. Within this I started becoming more insecure and afraid about making mistakes, because if I wasn’t able to keep up ‘the good work’, then people might start rejecting me, or stop loving me.

Herein I specifically remember a situation in 2nd grade where we were learning the multiplication tables. We would do tests almost every week and then the teacher implemented a system where, after the test she would grade everyone and those with the highest grades would then play the multiplication game. Where, basically, we each started at the back of the class, lined up horizontally and the teacher would state a multiplication calculation and then the first one to should out the answer could take a step forward, the first one to reach the front of the class wins. I was usually part of these games, but I absolutely hated them due to the amount of anxiety and fear I would experience. I would be totally shaking inside and didn’t know how not to feel like that. I would start dreading these games to such an extent, that I decided to just do bad on my test. I felt it was a dilemma, because I was expected to be one of the ‘gamers’. Anyway, I thought the trade-off was worth it. So, I deliberately made mistakes on my test so I wouldn’t be part of those playing the game. And now, that time, of course, the teacher didn’t wait to grade the tests, but just called up the same people who always participate, to do the game. After the teacher had graded the paper, I saw her comment under my mark saying ‘!?!?’

What started happening within all of this is that I started trying to hide my mistakes for fear of letting people down. What people seemed to be expecting was perfection or near perfection, so that’s what I would try to project. ‘I don’t do mistakes’. But within myself I was the total opposite, I was anxious and insecure, and would go into absolute rage when I didn’t get something right.


Day 141: Pride - The Root of All Sin?

When working with the tools introduced in SRA2 course of Desteni I Process, you’ll be pushed to see those aspects of yourself that you have lived out as yourself to such an extent that it is hard to identify them.

For me, the point that was revealed in this way was ‘Pride’. Someone had mentioned it to me before, that pride is one of my defining characters/characteristics – but I couldn’t relate to it AT ALL. Even when writing about it, what I was able to uncover was very superficial. It was only within using the tools I had learned in SRA2 and someone pointing at one sentence showing how that was a statement/expression of pride, that I could suddenly see it. It was literally as though I was blinded to that part of myself – but once it was shown to me how I lived pride in one specific moments, I could suddenly see it all over my writing, my behavior, my relationship with myself and others – like a veil lifting and for the first time meeting this part of myself – and then being astounded at seeing it to be one of the main characters I participate in and live out that in fact creates conflict and separation, but which I assumed was simply ‘a part of myself’ or that I had justified to such an extent that I couldn’t see it for what it was.

My understanding and ‘opinion’ of pride has always been that it is harmless. In Christianity, pride is one of the seven deadly sins – pride is even called ‘the root of all sin’. But why? What was so terrible about pride that it gained that status? For me, pride was about ‘being proud of myself’, especially when I had accomplished something successfully – then I’d be proud about what I had achieved and feel good about myself. What’s so bad about that? Others were proud of me when I had done something well, and would say ‘well done’ or ‘I’m proud of you, girl’. So, why shouldn’t I be proud of myself? Isn’t it *just* me congratulating myself, giving myself a pat on the back? Lol.

It seemed to be that pride was something desirable – it’s something I believed was how I was supposed to reward myself, in the same way I would be rewarded by parents and teachers whenever I had done something ‘right’ or ‘good’ or ‘well’ – then you get to be placed in the limelight, on a pedestal for a moment – with everyone admiring and congratulating you for what you’ve done. It was so much part of my world that I never questioned it, let alone regard it as ‘the root of all sin’.

But there is another ‘meaning’ of pride that is referred to when talking about pride as a sin. In that context, it seems to be more about a person being self-centered and looking down on others – where pride stands in the way of cooperation and communication, of working together to find solutions that are best for all.

So, in my blogs to come I’ll be exploring the dimensions of how I have existed and Pride and what the relationship is between pride in the two meanings of the word as I introduced in this blog.


Day 140: Who Am I in a Group? - Self-Corrective Statements

This blog-post is a continuation to:

Day 131: Who Am I in a Group?
Day 132: Who Am I in a Group? Clashes of Cultures
Day 133: Who Am I in a Group? - Nothing Left but Memories
Day 134: Who Am I in a Group? Dance Company - Pt1
Day 135: Who Am I in a Group? Dance Company Pt2
Day 136: Who Am I in a Group? Dancing with a Ghost
Day 137: Who Am I in a Group - Self-Forgiveness Pt 1
Day 138: Who Am I in a Group - Self-Forgiveness Pt 2 

Day 139: Who Am I in a Group - Self-Forgiveness Pt3

When and as I see myself participating in fear/anxiety/worry in relation to being introduced to a new group and not knowing what I will be experiencing, facing, be exposed to – I stop, I breathe – I realize that actually, that which I am afraid of is my own potential future reactions where I assume that I will not be able to direct myself within reactions - where this fear is based on memories in which I didn’t know how to direct myself within our without when experiencing inner turmoil as I did not yet have the tools to assist and support myself to do so – and so any scenario I would step into where I couldn’t predict exactly how I would experience myself/how I might react in moments, I started dreading – and so I commit myself to live self-trust in realizing that I am here, I have the tools and no matter what happens, whether I react or not, I am able to assist and support myself and expand myself through being in a new environment, with new individuals – allowing myself to open up and face points I might previously not have the opportunity to transcend.

When and as I see myself participating in the pattern of first keeping to the background in an observer-mode when introduced to a new group in order to be able to observe what kind of personalities are appreciated and accepted by others so that I am able to take on such a personality in order to be accepted in the group – I stop, I breathe – I realize that this pattern stems from a fear of not being accepted/being rejected and that within participating as a personality I am compromising who I am within the group as I am pretending to be someone I’m not, wherein I’ll later feel trapped in not knowing how to be myself without disappointing everyone else in no longer participating in a personality as well as creating guilt towards the others in the group for having participated within deception towards them from the very start – and so I commit myself to stop the fear of rejection and embrace myself within self-acceptance within the realization that it doesn’t affect me if another does not accept me and I push myself to participate as myself.

When and as I see myself separating myself creating the idea of a ‘group identity’ and ‘group feeling’ to which I assign either a positive or negative charge – I stop, I breathe – I realize that I am projecting my own experiences upon ‘the group’ wherein I believe that ‘the group’ is ‘making me feel’ a certain way or ‘giving me something’, when actually the ‘group’ is a collection of individuals and what each experiences within the group is about self and of self – and so I commit myself to bring back any energetic experiences that come up in relation to a group back to myself so that I can see how I am creating these experiences and can make the necessary alignments.

When and as I see myself changing myself in order to increase the likelihood of experiencing positive feelings within a group – I stop, I breathe – I realize that I am participating within the group based on energy, wherein my starting point for participating in the group is pure self-interest and where, eventually my experience will move to the opposite polarity of negative emotions as energy always moves between the poles – and so I commit myself to stop using groups for self-interested purposes of making me feel good about myself, but align my starting point to be me in self-honesty where I see how I am able to connect with other beings and develop relationships of mutual support.

When and as I see myself comparing a new or current group I am participating in to my experience of previous groups – I stop, I breathe – I realize that I am using my memories of participation in previous groups as a reference point for what will happen in the future, wherein I believe that what has happened before will happen again and that whatever has not happened before cannot happen – wherein I create the experiences of fear and hope within my participation in the group in reference to my previous experiences, thus not actually being here and participating directly, but instead I am influenced through these subtle experiences of hope and fear – and thus, I commit myself to let go of the past and realize that I created the past based on who I was in the past and I create what I experience in the present moment based on who I am in that moment, and so – to align myself within self-honesty to see what is real, what is relevant and walk accordingly.

When and as I see myself wanting to have a group last forever – I stop, I breathe – I realize that this stems from a pattern of participating in groups from a mind-experience starting point, wherein I would want my positive energetic experiences that I ascribed to the group to last forever and therefore would want the group to last forever - and so I commit myself to align who I am within the group in terms of what is supportive in self-honesty and clarify for myself what the purpose is for the group and to what extent the existence of the group is relevant or applicable, so that, if the group becomes irrelevant, I simply let go and move on.