Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humility, true and false

My writing style includes bouts of false-arrogance (that I find amusing, if nobody else), and self-deprecation (also usually false). I like to tell myself that under that outward presentation I've got a pretty healthy combination of self esteem and humility going on. I know it sounds contradictory to call oneself humble, but the 12 steps gig I'm working on right now specifically says to be honest about both the good and the bad you find when you look at your life, and I think that with some regularity I'm pretty aware of my weaknesses, dependence, and blessings.

Unfortunately, I think when I dig deeper yet, I find lots of evidence that my life is filled with too much real arrogance and simultaneous unhealthy and unfounded poor self regard. In a weird way, I do think this contributes to my attractions. It's as if I can't really believe honestly within myself that I'm worthy of another man's respect and love. I mean, what do I really have to offer? My self scoffs and says, one way to connect (for someone as pathetic as you) is through sex. Everyone loves sex. It's a way to be loved. Yes, this sounds like I'm parroting Nicolosi, but it actually just popped into my mind through my honest introspection and it wasn't until I just typed it that I recognized the Nicolosi connection.

Let me hasten to add that I don't think that view of being accepted through sex makes any sense. So, I really do have a pretty healthy view of relationships and my own value... but all that cognitive self awareness sometimes conflicts with the the way I act. All I can figure is that I really do have some self-loathing in hidden places and my disrespectful subconscious is sometimes winning the war.

Whenever I consider myself, I'm very critical. When I read my journal, I'm embarrassed and want to burn it. When I think back to my mission I want to send apology notes to all my companions. When I think of achievements and public appearances, I always criticize the way I looked, the things I said, or ... something. Who would love me, I wonder? I don't know that I would love me if I met myself.

I think my self-conscious believes it's somehow indecent to give myself credit for anything. The good things are just meeting minimum expectations. The bad are horrible deficiencies. I have inconsistent expectations of myself and everyone else... and I don't know what they should really be.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, and I still can't really tell what I'm getting at. But I went ahead and posted anyway because it jives a bit with what ATP was talking about today. I look at him and think, he's a great guy! Smart, funny, attractive (and no I'm neither joking nor hitting on you...). I wonder why he can't see it. And I can believe good things about myself with full certainty, but there's some deeply influential traitorous imp in my brain that will never be fully convinced.


Ghost said...

Well I can relate with what you are saying about feeling like a hypocrite. Especially when you are being brutally honest with yourself. Thats the door that opens to such a wide expanse of self awarness.
This is what I have found on accident when dealing in that realm. I found myself always complaining that others lack of depth and sensitivity as the reason why I couldn't relate with most people.
While this reason was viable I realized that it was only one part of a larger picture. I thought about Christ's example.
He was willing to meet everyone more than halfway. I thought about all of my conditions and my expectations in dealing with others. I found that I was ready to take the next step as a deciple of Christ.
That meant identifying, cultivating, and nurturing common ground between myself and others that I had had little or nothing in common with. It's been a little over a decade that I have been practicing this approach.
What I have found in doing this is that I have made room for these principles to live and grow: charity, forgiveness, and long-suffering. By practicing and nurturing these behaviors I have been able to be healed within myself. In deep wounded places.
I think when you can come to a point where you stop comparing yourself to others, you stop making unreasonable demands of yourself and vice-versa. It's like undoing a very complicated knot. You open room for very clear vantage points and necessary perspectives.
Sometimes when we are focused so much on our problems and deficiencies we miss the point entirely.
Learning how to be charitable in the way that I would like others to be to me takes a lot of work and courage. It opens a door to understanding and unconditional love. When you leaern how to love others unconditionally, you learn how to love and accept yourself.
I could go on more but hopefully this is enough.

playasinmar said...

"Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change." -Frank Lloyd Wright

Self-awareness is a double-edged sword, sure, but at least you have a sword. They come in handy sometimes.

-L- said...

Frank Lloyd Wright, from what I understand, may not be the most exemplary person on whom to base a philosophy about dealing with others. Great architect, yes. Great interpersonal skills, not so much. :-)