Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pride: The Good Kind

Did you ever have something that you were really proud of?  Maybe something you saved up your money for, or worked really hard for, or got a really great deal on.  I've had lots of things in my life that I was really proud of (NOTE to anonymous hater: In these sentences "of," and "on" are used as adverbs, modifying the verb phrases "were/was proud," and "got," so you don't need to leave a snotty comment about my use of a preposition at the end of a sentence).

I remember the first year my mom conned me out of having a birthday party by offering me the presents I would get anyway PLUS a fifty dollar bill.  WOW that was a lot of money then!  I still got to have a friend over, and I made bank :)  That year I used the money to buy myself this coat I was dying to have. 

If I tell you about the coat, a Wal-Mart denim coat that was long and insulated, and had a dark leather trim, you probably wouldn't think it was much, but I bought it myself.  I was so proud of that coat.  Throughout the years I also saved up and bought myself a tv for my room, a leather bomber jacket (it was the 90s guys!), and numerous cds, VHS tapes (90s), and shoes (Adidas runners and Dr. Martens sandals AND boots).  Finally at sixteen I got a job and made the payments (every last one of 'em) on my first car (a 1989 Escort with hatch-back baby he he).

I cherished those things so dearly, not because of what they were, but because I had saved my own money and bought them for myself.  These days that's the case with pretty much everything, so it's not as amazing as it once was, but there are still things, now and then, that I feel very proud of.

On the other side of that, have you ever trusted someone to use or borrow one of those things you were so proud of?  I remember letting a boy I liked drive my car for the first time and being a nervous wreck the entire time. Luckily that turned out well, but I remember asking myself what I was thinking.

Sometimes, that doesn't turn out so well, though.  Did you ever let someone play with your favorite toy, only to have it broken?  Or did you loan  your coolest pair of designer jeans to your best friend (I didn't, because we were about six inches different in length ;) only to never see them again?  Ever lost a pair of Dr. Martens to someone who promised to return them the next day, and didn't bring them back til they were out of style?

Maybe you remember the very same parent who taught you to share and be kind scolding you for being so careless or irresponsible with your things.  Yeah that sounds familiar, doesn't it?  That reminds me of the "Don't talk to strangers, but SAY HI to everyone who approaches you in public" blog I've been meaning to write ;)

I guess what I am getting at, is that the best things we gain are the hardest things to lose.  The things we are proud of and put our hearts and money into that bring us the most joy are the ones that leave us feeling queasy when they are taken, lost or broken.

So the best thing to do is to take pride not in the things you have, but the accomplishements you make.  Don't be proud of the new dining room set you saved up for, be proud of the family who sits together for dinner.  Don't be proud of the new bike you bought for Johnny's birthday, be proud of the child you taught to ride it.  Don't be proud of the house you built, but of the home you created. Don't be proud of your designer clothes, be proud of your fashion sense (if it's good, ha ha).  Be proud of the things that can't be taken from you, broken, or lost, and that "good" side of pride will be much more rewarding.

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