Category Archives: pride

bravado

Every now and again it’s important to have those “what was I thinking,” slap yourself upside the head moments.

My latest (in a continuing series) comes partly out of the final tone of yesterday’s 6 month post. It feels so inflatedly “I’m so awesome” to me in retrospect. But there’s something else in there that worries me more.

Why did I feel compelled to mix pearls with kitty litter? There’s some really great moments that get mentioned in there, alongside stuff that, while potentially entertaining, isn’t really worth spending time on. In some cases, like the Superman thing, I presented something that’s important in an almost degrading light. (On the up side, Supes will surely get his own post in a few weeks, unless it gets buried by the million other things that present themselves.)

For one part, it’s me being me, but it feels like I’m pushing too hard… like in the end I’m hiding, defying anyone to read the genuinely cool stuff by burying it in garbage. (And I seem to have this fascination about writing bullets all wrong, what’s up with that?) I mean, the thing about my Dad is really great news. It’s like when he came with us to church at Thanksgiving. Well, no, the Thanksgiving thing’s “too good for a public blog” flavor of good. (It’s the kind of disclosure that makes people feel uncomfortable if they don’t somehow earn it first, if that makes sense.)

Coming back to the bravado idea… it’s one of my top hiding places. It’s funny in a way, because when I’m genuinely comfortable with people, I get a bit obnoxious, talk smack, play guilt jokes, but that’s after we’ve developed enough confidence that they know that when I’m acting like a jerk, it’s an act, and I’ll return to normal once the moment passes. When I hide in my bravado place, I think I really just alienate people. At those moments the act is the gregarious part of it, somewhere underneath it I’m pushing people away… and people that do that suck.

So there’s the key item to work out for the next 6 month plan. Keep the gregarious and fun loving stuff that’s true to being me, lose the obnoxiousness that I throw around it at times to pretend that I’m not afraid to let people know me. I don’t do it all the time, and some people end up on the receiving end of it more than others. But it needs to stop across the board. It’s one thing to be full of yourself for comedic effect, it’s another to beat other people with it. At that point you only prove that you really only have room in your life for yourself.

Okay, head slapped, working out where I’ve gone wrong… time to go about fixing it and being better.

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Pride comes before… trouble

After last night’s political discussion, I read this in my daily reading:

Doctrine and Covenants 23:1

Behold, I speak to you, Oliver, a few words. Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation.

Doctrine and Covenants is a book of revelations given to the prophet Joseph Smith and subsequent prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly known as mormons. This specific revelation was received in 1830, in behalf of a number of people that wanted word from God on their duties and how well they were performing them.

Anyway, this struck me in light of the political discussion I had with Eric and Jo because it describes one of the root causes of religious fundamentalism as it relates to politics. We talked a bit about the Jimmy quote from a week back. (For some reason the words came out in a Jimmy Carter voice too. Don’t know why exactly.)

So the way I’m looking at things, the tendency to see ourselves as superior for our proper relationship with God and others as inferior or subhuman for holding to different religious beliefs or not holding to any religion comes out of pride. Thing is, while President Carter cites this in reference to conservative fundamentalism, it’s just as possible for progressives, moderates, and liberals to espouse that same pride. “We’re enlightened religious folk, not like those crazy (inferior, subhuman) fundamentalists.”

The only refuge I can see for people of faith is to seek after the doctrine of their faith. In the case of mormons, ponder and try to understand the doctrines of Christ as he taught them directly and through his prophets through the ages. There may be tensions that need resolving (how do we provide for the immediate needs of the poor while helping them become self-sufficient?), and we have to be careful not to play salad bar–taking up only the doctrines (or interpretations of them) that are most comfortable to us or that our fears tell us to embrace.

It’s a tricky path, and like when following anyone, it can be easy to lose the way for the features of the road or the people along the way. But as we work at getting closer to the destination, and sincerely and authentically ponder our progress and path… we’ll make it.

We can all fall victim to pride, not just whatever “them” we feel like talking about. Pride knows no party, no economic status… as someone once said, it’s the universal sin.

Fortunately, we’ve still got choice. With enough care, with enough humility, we can keep ourselves out of pride’s cycle.

Just wish it weren’t so tricky sometimes.

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