Last week DJMatticus was blogging about pride a little bit–if and when it’s ever appropriate and stuff. I don’t really want to get into that at this point, but I do want to explore this memory I have about pride. When I was a very very young child, if anyone ever expressed pleasure or approbation over something I had done, I would cry out in consternation,
“Don’t be proud of me! Don’t be proud of me!”
I still remember this sort of queasy, panicked feeling I would get in those moments, and maybe I even sometimes still get it–less noticeably–because every once in a while one of my parents (usually Dad) will say it to me, which must mean I’m providing some sort of (possibly) more grown up exhibition of the same discomfort with other people’s approval.
The weird thing is, I struggle with codependency, which is, as far as I experience it anyway, more or less an addiction to other people’s approval.
I’m still trying to figure out what fueled this anxiety. As a much older child (or maybe a very young adult) I remember having a sort of epiphany that pride is at the root of all sin, and still think that (maybe with some qualification–but maybe not), but I’m pretty sure that as a two- or three-year-old I wasn’t thinking in those terms. I know I had a sense of God, and maybe somewhere, somehow, I had picked up some sense that pride was wrong. Maybe I viscerally supposed that if other people were proud of me and I just accepted it, I would become proud of me, too, and that would be Bad.
Or maybe I thought if I did something well the first time and people were proud of me, they would be disappointed when I failed to do it as well the next time. I’ve definitely had a lifelong habit of trying (not always successfully) to keep my own and everyone else’s expectations low, to minimise disappointment. The downside of this practice is that it also minimises genuine enjoyment of anything if you keep holding your breath, waiting for whatever it is to go horribly horribly wrong. Sometimes that mindset also provides the catalyst for things to go horribly horribly wrong.
Or maybe (and this, I suspect, is nearest the truth) it was some sort of hybrid of these two anxieties, where I desperately wanted the approval but was terrified of how much I wanted it.
Or maybe I just didn’t like being the centre of attention. Maybe I was embarrassed–I used to embarrass easily. There’s probably something to that, too. I’ve always wanted everyone to know who I was, but not to have to do anything about it.
Sometimes being human is just a conundrum. Or is it just me? What do you feel internally conflicted about? Or–if you’d like to keep your own neuroses off some random chick’s blog, you could analyse mine, I guess . . .