Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Thing Called Pride

I am guilty of one of the seven deadly sins, which is PRIDE.

My pride is so huge and sometimes so unreasonable that I'd rather eat dirt than lose it for something clearly more important. A lot of people get in trouble by not letting go of their pride and I'm one of them. My pride hurts people I love and when uncontrolled, hurts me as well and clouds my perceptions. But for more than 24 years of living, I've never let it go.

I quite understand the importance of it though. Whenever I am faced with uncertainties or faced with greatest odds, I feel I could surpass them as long as I cling on to my pride. It is one of my most powerful shields on getting on with my life independently, efficiently and positively.

“I have a new client, a laid-off lawyer, who’s commuting in every day — to his Starbucks,” said Robert C. Chope, a professor of counseling at San Francisco State University and president of the employment division of the American Counseling Association. “He gets dressed up, meets with colleagues, networks; he calls it his Western White House. I have encouraged him to keep his routine.”

The fine art of keeping up appearances may seem shallow and deceitful, the very embodiment of denial. But many psychologists beg to differ.

To the extent that it sustains good habits and reflects personal pride, they say, this kind of play-acting can be an extremely effective social strategy, especially in uncertain times.(NYT)

When I resigned from a good position in a global company two years ago, people were dismayed. Others who do not even know what I was going through thought that I regretted it. Without any immediate plans, I would have easily fallen into the trap of despair and feeling of unworthiness. With nothing better to do but idle time on my hands being unproductive might have made me feel useless and wasteful. But I never reached that part.

Every single day in those "dark days" I went out. I immersed myself in a working environment. I tried to blend in. I hang out at Greenbelt in Coffee Bean, with my old laptop and turn the small corner in the coffee shop into my office. I surfed, I blogged, I researched and I answered my emails. By 5 in the afternoon, when most of the professionals are on their way home, I pack up, meet Mitch and go home as well. People might have thought that what I was doing was pointless. For them, I was wasting money and I was wasting time, but the point is I felt I was not wasting anything at all. In those days that I got to meet people in my "coffee shop office" and stayed there until I went home, made days quicker and time immaculately passed by. I enjoyed that particular phase in my life so much that it didn't dawn on me that I was doing something unusual unless it was being pointed out to me. If they would ask me why I always choose to join the commercial crowd when clearly I don't belong there anymore, I would always tell them because I still feel that I belong regardless if I have a job or not. I'm the last person to sulk at home, count cobwebs and let my restless mind consume me. Pride keeps me finding reasons to be busy and face unusual circumstances normally. I guess immersing myself in a the busiest capital, as if I'm still working, helped a lot. I'd rather let people see me weird than being regretful and sulking.

Before I didn't quite understand why I do the things that I do, but now I know. Pride doesn't promote anyone to make-believe that they're someone else; rather pride shields us from dragging ourselves to become that person we truly dread. There's a big reason why pride is created and should be in a way, valued. It shields us through the rough times and it fuels us to forge on. Now, pride isn't such a bad thing after all, in good dozes that is.

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