Posts Tagged ‘self-hate’

“Green is a restful color,” she said. We were sitting in a kitchen in Washington, D C in the spring. The view outside, gorgeous green.

“Yes, so you might not want to do your yard back in San Diego in xeriscape,” I said. “No green, no rest — for your psyche.”

There isn’t enough anyway, anywhere, green or rest.

Our deep selves are like the seas in Albert Pinkham Rider oils that I saw in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art yesterday, all dark, tossed and stormy — threatening too. Perhaps we disapprove of ourselves and others too much.

We look through an imperfect spyglass. No inward, stormward peering eyes are 20/20. All human eyes critique, out of focus. We look out and see other people’s thunderstorms. We look in and see terrifying oceans. Better than anyone else, we see our own conflicted selves. Men in containers lost in wind-blown seas see what only the boated, angled and near-tipped selves can see — disaster coming!

Once, broken over her disabled condition, my daughter told me, “I hate myself.” We both wept. More tragicified salt water. What else was there to do?

I think God may see differently.

Perhaps we haven’t noticed but God is much less judgmental than we are. He rides the wind above our inner storms. His patience with our distubifying selfishness, greed, lust and brazen indifference is one of the the most obvious things about him.

Perfection is more relaxed with imperfection than imperfection is with itself. God looks at us, sees it all, and loves.

God sees us, within the forgiveness gifted us in Christ, as pure and good and even perfect. We have trouble agreeing with him.

But God is right about us. In Christ, riding in his sound, safe, shuttered, sea-worthy craft, the sea calms, and we rest. He places to our eye an accurate glass to look in and out at what he sees, and we see for the first time, good, in focus.

Can you be good with seeing yourself and others as good?

If so — then you too will see spring greens, and rest.


Posted: March 8, 2011 in thriving
Tags: , , , , , ,

Pride is complicated stuff.

How’s that? Because it’s about thinking we are better than other people and about thinking we are worse.

It is both, because pride is essentially being overly focused on oneself, making oneself the center, the core, the issue.

Pride puts its nose in the air and says, “Look at my hot car, or body or house or wife or personality or whatever.”

And pride puts its nose down, low, and says, “Look at what a mess I am, and look at how badly I feel.”

This too is a kind of pride because it is all about me or you or whoever is super-focused on themselves.

To really understand pride, we must realize that it is a fiction. Pride is a restoried, manufactured, studied, fictionalized version of reality that we write for ourselves. It takes the story of our life, and rewrites it with our self as the protagonist, the hero, the heroin, the star.

To really understand it might help to see that pride is a lot like a card game.

Life deals us cards. As we grow up, we look over our hand to see what cards we got.  And then, we select our high card, and we begin to play it, for a win, for a winning of  love and money and approval. Our high card  may be our personality, our looks, our smart mouth, our money, our social status, our race, our parents, our attitude, our whatever. There are many high cards, different in value in different contexts, and the cards become high or low, depending on how we and others see them.

This is fine, normal, and this is not so fine, this card game, when pride enters the game. It is not cool,  to play ourselves too much, to  game ourselves, to story game ourselves, to restory ourselves, to dominate, to win by making others lose. It is not cool when we flaunt our cards, when we use them to use other people, to get what we want, to beat down the competition into submission to our superiority.

But this game, the high card game, the game of who is better than who, is played all the time. People get into it or they spend a lot of energy trying to get away from it.

A person who has worked hard on being humble, may then be proud of not being proud. Wow! Tough sledding, the downhill run away from the self.

What to do?

About the only cure for pride is not to think of it at all —  self, self-love, self-hate, dealing with self. The cure comes in turning away from all  of this to other selves. We lose pride when we find the other. We quit playing our high card when we think beyond the game, at what we will all do when we slide our chairs back from the table and go to lunch together.

This matters, the game after the game, the game without the game, the time when we gather to support each other, not to win or lose.

This matters.

The interesting thing is the the Bible sees dealing with pride as the central issue of life, because pride keeps us from God. And to persist in pride, can lead to  God opposing us

Proverbs 3:34 says that God “mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.”

Cool!  And not cool. If we mock the suposedly inferior, we will be mocked.

Interesting. Being proud will bring us down; keeping away from pride will put God on our side and pick us up.

Nothing better than that.

Think about it.

(Todays blog entry is just a discussion starter. What do you think? I invite you to add a comment.)