Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm in Deep Reflection Today. Be Forewarned.

I've been experiencing quite a bit of interesting thoughts this week. My main contemplation is on the issue of pride (my stinkin' pride *fist shaking at self*).

This business is a tough one. I've had many friends published (either e-pub or traditional). Some of my friends have changed (not everyone, but some. And I'm not talking about changing from human to vampire or something like that. That would make for a much more interesting story). 

Two acquaintances of mine have been published and both have had national successes. But the way they have responded to their success has been so different and at such opposite sides of reaction, that I couldn't help take note.

Not only have I seen it in the writing world, but I have seen it in my person life. Just because someone is skinner than me, prettier, had different responsibilities...does that make them better than me? More important?

But it didn't stop there. I was in a meeting with a group of accomplished women, one of whom kept bringing up her past achievements, who she worked with, how she went the extra mile. I started to feel...well...jealous (and to be honest, a little bit small compared to her). So then I went off, embellishing in my past (honestly, if I was going to go off and feel terrible for it, I should have made it more I had super powers or something-j/k It was bad enough).

By the time we were leaving, I felt awful.

This is not the person I wanted to be. My pride and jealousy was getting in the way. Too far in the way.

I spent the next few days trying to sort things out, how to stop my mouth from vomiting such things in times of weakness (Why does it happen like that? Why can't my logical mind say..."Hey wait, if you say that you'll be eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's tonight." I'm just saying).

I'm still struggling with it. I hope it works out in the end (struggling with the words, not the Ben and Jerry's...well, my weight is, but that's a whole different story).

I guess it comes down to who do I want to be in the end of it all? The friend who thinks they are the best or the one who humbly accepts whatever may come their way?  

It's a slippery slope, one I hate falling down (And Ben and Jerry's is getting rich off me...curse that delicious ice cream).

So tell me, what do you do when you find yourself tackling tough issue like pride? What do you do when you get into a sticky situation? (Okay, and honestly, I don't eat a pint of Ben and Jerry''s more like a gallon of the generic stuff. It's good too. *wink*)


Susan Fields said...

My first thought when I hear people spouting off their past accomplishments is that they're pretty insecure, or they wouldn't feel the need to tell me about the wonderful things they've done. I wouldn't be jealous of anyone like that. A truly accomplished person doesn't need to tell everyone about it. Just yesterday I was feeling a little bummed about stuff, and I saw on Facebook a picture of a person's hand that was so tiny, they were obviously quite malnourished. When I see something like that, it reminds me to be so grateful for what I have and not worry about what I don't.

Anonymous said...

We don't have Ben and Jerry's here but I think I'd dive into something like that too after having to sit through 'boasting!' Susan said it well. Insecurity brings about having to prove oneself to others.

Honestly, I struggle with this too. When in the moment, if I stay quiet, not try to prove myself to others and then reflect on how I feel later, I feel I have handled it well. And just knowing that helps me feel better about myself.
So I think you handled the situation with grace!

Shelley Sly said...

Your situation and how you feel is completely normal, and something that I (and others, I'm sure) can relate to. I like what Susan said about bragging equaling insecurity. When people do this to me, I get really quiet and mostly just nod my head. I don't feed in to the "oohs" and "ahs" of it, but I don't chime in with my own accomplishments either. When those people realize that I'm not responding the way they want me to, they usually stop.

Don't beat yourself up so much about it, though. The fact that you self-reflect like this shows what a great person you are and that you're conscious of other people's feelings.

J.R. Johansson said...

Every time I start having my pride creep up on me, the publishing industry seems to take care of it pretty darn quick. I'd like to say I do it myself, but I'd be lying. Best I can do in this world is hold on tight and try not to get flung off the back of the ride.

Take a deep breath and give yourself a break. You are sweet, caring and kind. And that's okay. :)

Jolene Perry said...

Carulyn - I'm so with you.
I hate knowing that I said or did things i shouldn't have.
My good friend and her husband almost split a few years ago, they reconciled and are closer than ever. We ran into a friend of hers who has been really snooty since she decided to try again with her husband, and we both embellished a bit on how well my friend was doing. As soon as we walked away from this lady, my friend looked at me said - that was bad. Why can't I keep my mouth shut.

It's hard. It's something I think almost all of us fall into at some time or another.

Also - NO ONE would guess you had an ice cream addiction by looking at you. You're so funny.

Also - no one else I know that posts once a week has as many people excited about coming here as we are to see what's going on with you every thursday.

This doesn't mean I always remember, but it does mean I always want to.

And now my post is ridiculously long.

Just the fact that you can SEE this is pretty huge, because a lot of people don't, and a lot of people who do, don't change anything.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I think the older I get the more I'm able to bite my tongue, nod my head and smile when people start spouting off all their accomplishments. But it does still play at the edges of my mind: have I really accomplished anything useful in my life?

Having worked in public relations, I have to remind myself that it's all smoke and mirrors. You can make anyone sound as good or as awful as you want to. It's all in how the story is told. Guess that applies to novel writing, too :)

Laurel Garver said...

I've been feeling reflective too, and looked at a similar topic on my blog--confidence. For some confidence really is a con game, but it should be about living out our deepest beliefs--that I have a story to tell that matters.

Becca said...

I think turning 35 was a major help for me in this. (Does that sound like I'm bragging? How ironic.) But, really, it was about then that I could honestly - for the first time - say, well, that's great. How nice for you. And THEN STOP TALKING. It was like a switch flipped, and I could just shut up and smile. Oh, what a relief.

The switch didn't stay flipped, and sometimes I have to superglue my lips shut. Which, well, hurts. But it still feels good to me to JUST STOP TALKING.

(Except right now, when I feel the need to go on. And on. And on forever. Apparently.)

David Powers King said...

When I find myself in a situation like you described, I listen and wait. I've always been an observant person. One thing rings true. People like to talk about themselves. I know I do, and I've made the mistake of dominating the conversation in the past. A great way to tackle pride is to make the conversation about others. Be patient until someone directs it towards you and don't take offense if you never have a turn.

Prideful. I never want to land in that category. Slap me if I ever enter that country of false gold. :)

KarenG said...

Hmm, the woman who talked about herself so highly seems to be the one who needs a pride lecture!

Janet Johnson said...

I've gotten really good at smiling and nodding. :)

I figure that the person who is saying all that good stuff about themselves must be having a self-confidence issue. I can sympathize with that, and then I don't react so harshly.

In any case, I think we all have those moments of, "Doh! Why'd I say that?" We are human after all.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I hear ya, when I feel pride or jealousy start to bubble up, I usually (keyword: usually) can shut my mouth. Honestly? That's when I know I need to go and pray and ask God to take those feelings out of my heart.
It's hard. It's a struggle. But we all go thru it.

LisAway said...

I think when I hear someone bragging I'm more able to just see it as bragging and not care too much about it or get annoyed. Part of that is that I'm content with myself and I don't care how much less accomplished I am than others. Probably not such a great thing...

Oh, but I have plenty of pride in other areas. Sometimes I just know that I'm right about things. It's not an opinion, it's a FACT, people. I KNOW these things. And I get a little brash and obnoxious. And later I think, "why did I have to go and act like I know everything?" Ugh.

Sara B. Larson said...

What an honest post. Thank you for sharing this. I think most of us deal with this... or at least I do. I always regret when I let my insecurities get the better of me and I open my mouth to try and say something to make me feel better. I want to be more confident and less judgemental of myself (I'm not toned/thin enough, I'm not a fast enough runner, I'm not a good enough mom/housekeeper, I'm not a good enough writer, etc etc), but it's a constant struggle.

salarsenッ said...

You are far stronger and more real than you know. ((hugs)) Don't compare yourself to others. (I know; I suck at that too.) But all that does is take your focus off what's most important in YOUR life - you growing as a person. If it's through your writing life, so be it. Family, friends, that's good too. Though your path is different from other writers, it is just as special and important to this world.

Angie said...

Stupid pride. I know it's been such a problem for me too. I totally understand the jealousy thing. It's tough. Just remember that you are awesome!

Shari said...

You are one of the least prideful people I know. I love my Carolyn friend.

Susan R. Mills said...

Wonderful post! I definitely can relate. In fact, I considered posting something similar, but I couldn't have written it a beautifully as you have. I think everyone struggles in this way at one time or another.

Summer Ross said...

I walk away and analyze later hopefully without opening my mouth to far. :)

I have an award for you

Jamie Burch said...

Yikes! So sorry you went through all that. The difference between the two of you is that you feel bad about it and I'm sure she never gave it a second thought.

I've been a total cookie monster lately. It's those darn Halloween Oreos! Guess I should stop buying them.

Hope you're feeling better by now. It's never fun when people put us in those situations and we turn into someone far different then we really are.

Take care...:)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Hmm. This really makes me wonder what I project to others. Thanks for the wake-up call. I think it's all about listening. And then, making positive comments on what you've heard that will make the other person know that you heard and understood. Anyway, that's how I see it. My goal this week is to do that.
Have a good one!

Carolyn Abiad said...

Show-offs make me want to crawl in a hole and hide. Not because they're better than me. It's just I can't be all happy for someone who shoves it in your face. I usually get very quiet around people like that. Then maybe I'll have a pint of Ben and Jerry's when I get home too.

Melanie Jacobson said...

Oh, I so could have written this post. And I definitely need to start making up super powers. Because it's way more interesting than the exaggerations I'm prone to.

Lola Sharp said...

I wrote an epic, long, thoughtful comment...and blogger ate it. *sobs*

I don't have it in me to try and compose another...but suffice it to say, I love your vulnerable honesty here. And we're human. We all overcompensate or do something ridiculous for our insecurities. We all just manifest it differently. I try to remember that when others act out...and when I do. Forgiving ourselves is always the hardest. *hugs*