Friday, January 7, 2011


Not all the time, but sometimes, it's good to recognize your own flaws, I think. Hard, but important. Ugly, but helpful for forcing honesty and improving yourself. If I'm being honest, I do it because I'm afraid that if I'm not careful about finding my flaws, I'm going to become (or stay) a person that other people don't want to be around.

I feel or act smug and superior.

I employ false modesty or self-deprecation because it's more acceptable or attractive.

I drag out suffering to draw your sympathy.

I act like/convince myself that things are rough. (No one has ever written better about this tendency than Girl's Gone Child -- I highly recommend her post In Defense of Happiness. " that people could see that I was real and in pain, legitimate.")

I shut you out and refuse to let go of (probably unwarranted) bad moods.

I blame and hate myself when I make mistakes, can't fix what needs fixing, or can't do what needs doing.
The last one stands out from the others, not because it's perceived as worse, but because it's almost perceived as a good thing. Forgiving and accepting when you fall short seems lazy and irresponsible. It's natural to cling to this flaw. It isn't as embarrassing. To me it's the easiest to talk about.

A lot of people don't find value in romance novels, even the bestseller-list ones, but I've always been partial to Nora Roberts. I was re-reading one of her classics (Carnal Innocence), and I came across a passage that jumped out at me. The protagonist, a woman needing a rest from her high-pressure life, had recently shot and killed a madman in self defense.
She would not search for a way to put the blame on herself. She would not agonize over how she could have avoided, prevented, or changed the outcome. That was the old Caroline's weakness, that delusion of self-importance that had made her believe she had the right, the responsibility, the power to bear all burdens [...] No, Caroline Waverly was not going to listen to that sneaky little voice that crept inside her brain to whisper about blame and fault and mistakes.
The delusion of self-importance. To attempt to bear all burdens... to come up inadequate... to be egotistical? I can add it to the list.

A note on real humility:

~ ~ ~

P.S. We're still sick.

P.P.S. We're getting better.

P.P.P.S. Everything we own is now stained amoxicillin-pink.

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