Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pride is Not Just for the Patriotic

On my journey the other day through the vast playground we call the Internet, I stumbled upon a posting that caused me to take pause. (Yes, I actually cocked my head and paused…for maybe thirty seconds. Or maybe I was having a mild stroke, I’m not sure.) Anyway, the post was on the subject of Pride, and it was written by Mo of It’s a Blog Eat Blog World. In the posting, Mo asked how pride became a “sin” in some cultures, as he was having a few issues about taking some pride in his own accomplishments.

I totally understand this line of thinking, because when I was young, my Grandmother practically beat it into my head that I was too proud for my own good. But before you start imagining me walking around boasting about my various accomplishments, let me clarify what my Grandmother meant by this. It wasn’t because she thought I was arrogant or self-centered (well, maybe a little self-centered), but rather because I asked too many questions. Any time she told me to do a chore, or gave me an explanation about something, I would question it. (Or so she claimed.)

What can I say? If I didn’t understand or completely believe an answer I was given, I just wanted further clarification. Was that such a bad thing? No. But to my Grandmother it was. She used to call me “Lawyer Jones” because she said I could argue about almost anything. She even tossed in the old adage, “In my day, children were seen and not heard,” to which I would reply, “I’m so glad we don’t live in your day then, because I have too many things I want to say.” As you can imagine, this response never went over very well.

Anyway, I think the confusion about “pride” stems from the various manifestations it can take. There’s the kind of pride Narsissus felt toward his own reflection, which is the kind of pride most of us probably think of. But there’s also another kind of pride, which is much quieter. Like having a deep sense of achievement of what you’ve been through, what you’ve survived, and how you’ve grown. This kind of pride is important, because it gives you strength and courage to face whatever comes next.

And so, to illustrate this point, I have written a short little poem. I hope you enjoy it.

Sometimes I’ll try and take a peak,
To find what others often seek,
The worth behind this mask I wear,
But if you knock, is something there?

Who knows what secrets hide inside,
Some hurt my heart, some sting my pride,
The kind of scars that never show,
Were only meant to help me grow.

Yet in my mind I see them clearly,
All the critics I once heard yearly,
They’ve long since gone their separate way,
Though wounds they left still bleed today.

So once again I’ll let them go,
For life is not a tale of woe,
In fact, I love the life I lead,
In many ways, I did succeed.

I look inside and now I see,
What truly are the gifts of me,
Some I’ll share, and some will steep,
Until the time what’s sewn will reap.

For on this journey, one thing’s true,
There’s only ever one of you,
You’re flying solo till the end,
So try be your own best friend.

Thanks Mo, for inspiring this post.


Debbie said...


a different take for you, very true and well said, though!

Daisy said...

My very favorite line of your poem was about "try to be your own best friend." It's so easy to see our own faults, I think we need to spend time seeing the good things, too.

Mo said...

That was a great post.
Like my friend Daisy, my favorite line was about being your own best friend.
Thanks for the shout out, and hope to see you around It's A Blog Eat Blog World regularly!

Matthew S. Urdan said...

Nice post.

I love the way you told your grandmother off. I wish I had that phrase at my disposal every time we visited our grandparents in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and us kids were sent upstairs while the grownups had their dinner parties...


Henson Ray said...

Debbie--Like Joseph, I have a coat of many colors. Sometimes I like to throw in a new shade just to make sure you're paying attention.

Daisy--Glad you liked it. It is perhaps one of the most important things we need to learn, and the hardest thing to accomplish.

Mo--Thanks for the inspiration.

Matt--My Grandmother and I had a "unique" relationship. But that's another story entirely.

Debbie said...

somehow I can now hear you prancing and singing, "I am handsome I am smart, I am a walking work of art....in my coat of many colors" or is that one of your birds?