For a long time I wasn’t proud of myself, how I looked, how I spoke. I wasn’t proud of my thoughts and actions. I became embarrassed and awkward when people complimented me, because I believed I didn’t deserve it. I was unworthy of their praise. And yet, I sought the limelight and attention, I pushed myself to the front of the throng. But when I got there, I wanted to turn around and run away. I was a walking contradiction.
I couldn’t understand myself and when you can’t do that, then what hope do you have of understanding others? And if you can’t understand yourself and others then what’s the point? If you can’t work out the needs of your nearest and dearest then you cease to function as an ordinary human being. You stop contributing towards your sphere of influence. Where there is no extraordinary in your ordinary you cancel yourself out. You become null and void.
Emotions can hinder and divert you from where you need to be, but they can also clear a path and accelerate you towards predestined individuals and locations. They are a fuel for life; explosive, deadly but necessary in order to function. Without them we lose our infuriating humanity, our ability to hate, to love, to remotely care about anything. Without them we wither inside and die, we turn our backs on the exceptional heights waiting to be scaled. We abdicate responsibility for our lives.
They are deceptive, as infuriating as herding cats. Many tether their lives on the cornerstone of logic and reason. We live in a world of structure and routine. Yet, nations are being brought to their knees by a microscopic virus nobody had heard of five months ago. The most painstakingly detailed risk assessments and contingency plans are being ripped up before our eyes and tossed into the fire. Our world is burning and nothing will ever be the same again.
We cling to the rock face, we clamber for the tiniest finger hold and refuse to look downwards into the yawning abyss. Our logical minds tell us not to let go, that we can only inch upwards along the chosen path. But what if we were to let go, to side with our emotions and do what our heart, as opposed to our head, told us to do? What if we were to fall away and start again, from the bottom? To rebuild and lay fresh roots, to strike out across virgin soil in a new direction?
That’s what I did. And you know what? Most days now I can look at myself in the mirror without flinching at the face staring back at me. I remain more flawed than formed but my heart beats in my chest as it never did before. In the meandering limbo of lockdown I awaken with purpose and direction. I know what I want to do, I’m proud of what I want to achieve. I’m no longer adrift, yet I had to fall away from the rock face in order to find myself. I am reborn.
Amidst the horrors of this pandemic, there are green shoots of opportunity for those who can discern them through the smoke and flames. There is a chance to reflect, refocus and reorientate. A flicker of hope exists, waiting to be fanned, fed and nurtured into a steady, solid flame. Pride dwells within it. Pride, not arrogance. For pride is earned, it is a hard won reward. Arrogance is as worthless as ashes in the scalding wind.
Today’s question…are you proud of yourself? Or are you too ashamed to even begin to think of such matters. Have you given up, are you hopelessly adrift of where you need to be? My message is that there is still time to grab the rudder and set sail towards a new horizon, to steer your vessel off the rocks and into fresh waters. When there is nothing else, when you have nothing else, there is still freewill. Be proud of who you are going to become. Starting today.