I have spent so much of my life trying to hold a compliment in my head long enough for it to seep through my ribcage and into my heart. Most times, I end up gagging on a fear that I’ll be found out as a phony.
I’d end up holding the compliment in my sweaty palms, instead. Awkward and unsure, give it a once over and toss it back to its recipient. Or into the thin air.
Now. I can’t seem to hold a criticism in those same palms without my heart crumbling inside of my chest. I’ve never been this fragile. Every face is a potential enemy. Everyone carries the potential to destroy me. My husband. My clients at work. My God.
This isn’t the “toot your own horn” on loop kind of pride. But a sinister type where I feel inauthentic in moments where I want to shine the most. I look over my shoulder and test out each glance. Are you pleased with me?
….and I answer the question with a “Of course not.”
I can see an image of myself as a small girl, with my mother’s church clothes, jewelry, and shoes on. They are obviously too large for me. Swallowing my tiny frame. I want to feel pretty. As pretty as the person whom these clothes belong to. But I spin and twirl and pray for a “Oh, darling. Look at how beautiful you look.”
The one compliment that satisfies the need. Finally.
So I can rest my tired feet and stop this rat race; constant pursuit of pleased nods and grateful hugs from those around me that I often get. But it never seems enough.
I think pride is kin to memory loss. You must be privy to forgetfulness to be prideful.
I forget that I have always been valued and cherished.
Even before I was cognizant of any desire to please and take the credit. Before any hands raised in front of pulsating hearts to give accolades, high-fives, or wide hugs. Before the creation of selfies and high school superlatives. Before I knew what it was like to be ignored by a boy I liked.
Pride is an insatiable black hole. Matched only by Love. Nothing can win against Pride except Love. Only Love. I can rest, return glances with smiles and be great because I am Loved.
“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zepheniah 3:17