Pride and proof. A sloppy skim of a page would assume these two words have little to nothing in common. But a fixed stare and a clean, meticulous read reveals more than just two, tiny words starting with the same letter in sixteenth alphabetical position.
Pride and proof; without one or the other, the language of life, the artwork of humanity, would cease to exist.
Pride reveals itself in all of us through many different shades and patterns, some wildly loud, others subtly soft; no matter its point of soul saturation, pride is one of the richest, most deeply absorbed emotions coloring the tapestry of humanity.
We may try to water-down and dilute our individual brightness with a double dose of humility from time to time. Often our humility gives way to our humanity; the strong sense of satisfaction in our unique achievements and accomplishments or the growing gratification from particular qualities setting ourselves apart from our peers, these natural feelings are hard to tone down. Pride, in its most positive form, are the ways we reflect and emit our powerful light onto other people.
Pride is a challenging art form; its mastery takes years of life experience. If layered on too thick, people can be put-off by the grandiosity of self-acknowledgement and appreciation. On the other side of a self portrait, pride too thinly applied lacks a certain depth and dimension. Layers of complexity, balances of red-hot fire and milk-and-water – that is how to color your world.
Without pride in who we are, our souls can dim; sharing our light is harder, then. We know this, as artists of our lives, and we spend exorbitant amounts of energy trying to prove that the pride we strongly feel – and fear losing – in ourselves is not without merit.
The social media seesaw of one-upping followers is the largest indicator of the Pride-Proof teeter-totter we all try to balance on. We are human; we take incredible pride in knowing that we are doing better than well at designing our lives. We force ourselves to stage the ease of perfection and prove that we don’t make irreversible mistakes; that we don’t accidentally mix colors and spread them far outside the lines of our neat lives.
I spend a lot of energy, in my virtual social media existence, and in real life, proving to myself and other people that my physical disability doesn’t deter me from anything I want out of life nor does it define me as anything, other than a living, breathing person. I take great pride in my independence and in coloring my life in a way that makes it look shiny and easy, despite the occasional dullness of physical challenges, secondary to just living.
Proving our right to self-pride, or having pride in our proof of a life that is great – these emotions can become wasted energy, I know. But we emotionally exhaust ourselves because we are afraid of not being seen and praised – or worse, being seen and criticized.
Critics never matter. The audience that matters – people who love us most authentically and unconditionally – they see us clearly, even when our lights have dimmed, our colors are washed-out and our brightness has faded. Those are the people, the rarest of colors, who don’t need proof of our own valued beauty.
Our loved ones pour color back into our cheeks, reminding us that a life of beauty is not pridefully proved; life is authenticity felt and experienced. That’s the masterpiece.