“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”– C.S. Lewis, “Mere Christianity”
One of the best perks I’ve always had available for me as a teacher is having the abundance of meeting people from all walks of life.
Tonight I was able to have this honest conversation with an adult student who’ve had a very enlightening experience from someone who told her the awful truth about herself, which resonated with my own shortcomings as well. This student is very much like me in terms of our views about life, and apparently with our susceptibility to being too proud of ourselves.
She said that in the past, there was a man who told her that she was very prideful. That man told her that she wasn’t giving her 100% effort because of her pride. Most of her actions were half-assed, only 80% because she was very proud of herself as she couldn’t, or wouldn’t accept some terms of the jobs that she wanted because she didn’t want to lower her pride. She didn’t have to tell me the details of this, but I did understand where she was coming from. If you are too proud of yourself, no job is ever good enough for you until you get frustrated of the fruitless search and just settle where you feel the most secured.
When I told her that I didn’t like crying in public, and I wouldn’t at any terms would cry in front of someone, she said that it’s a sign of pride. When I thought about it, why don’t I want to cry in front of anybody, even my own mother? Is crying a sign of weakness? I don’t believe so. On the contrary, I think crying is a very liberating experience, a release of pent-up emotions we have. Even when watching a tear-jerker, I’d suppress my sobs and my tears if I’m watching the movie with someone. Ironically, I love watching emotional movies because I love crying at emotionally moving scenes. Crying is painful, but the experience is nonetheless relaxing afterward.
Moreover, I shared that I didn’t like asking for help. Even when the going is getting very though indeed, I’d rather battle the problem myself than bother others with my problem. In my defense, I’m like this because I don’t want to trouble others. On the other hand, I might have been unconsciously avoiding help because I want to prove to myself that I am smart, I am strong, and I can stand up on my own. Unconsciously, I might have been prejudiced of others concern and judgment on my personal matters.
Despite my care-free demeanor, I’m a private person. It’s only in writing (and unknown internet corners) that I can be honest with myself. Perhaps I don’t want others tampering with my judgment and let their decisions lead my life. Probably in the recess of my mind, my biased, narrow view of the world is supreme and absolute.
Heck, realizing this, I’m actually on an express ride to ruining my life.
Furthermore, the pride that I have of myself is so great that I didn’t even want to acknowledge that I am prideful. Honestly, it kinda makes my stomach churn when I think how true these things about myself are.
Time and time again, I would admit to myself that I have insecurities, I am scared of many things. Even when I tell myself that I don’t give a fuck that people think I’m weird, impulsive, and aggressive, I know deep down in my heart that I don’t give a fuck about my image, but at the same time, I’m scared of people disapproving me. Isn’t that the reason why I can poke-fun at myself at the expense of others finding me funny and fun to be around? When I am jealous and I feel that I’m not fine, is it pride or strength that can make me say, “I’m fine” in the end?
In conclusion, I have to give a fuck about my image although I don’t want to because I love being who I am and I don’t want to change for others. I don’t think I’m hurting others with my pride, but I definitely am hurting myself for trying so hard to stand strong with this mask.
By the end of the class, the tables have turned and my student became my teacher instead; my life teacher. She gave me a piece of advice. As someone whom I feel has genuinely been in the same kind of dilemma as me, I definitely believe her.
She gave me a mission: cry in public. It’s a simple act, a very natural one at that, but as I’ve said, it’s something next to impossible for me. What will I lose anyway? I’d probably gain something even, as my student encouraged. No matter what the outcome will be, it will be a new experience.
To be very honest, I don’t know where to start mending myself. I know I don’t have to lose all this pride, but I’d have to learn to rely more on people, be more open to them, and risk more. I know that risk is a very important element of change which I am trying to make the theme of this year, so what’s holding me back? I’m confident that my friends love me, so why can’t I be more honest to them like they are to me? If I let these people who I trust rely on me, by not depending more on them, am I not insulting their capabilities?
What a revelation this night has been. It’s not an easy one to swallow, but I appreciate every corner of it. 🙂