Reconciling feelings of pride and worthlessness
Available now in the S&H Articles area is his May-June 2007 column, "Living with Opposites" that may be read online after free registration with the S&H site. In this column, Moore talks about reconciling feelings of pride and worthlessness:
"Uncomfortable, symptomatic emotions are usually not character flaws, but raw material in need of refinement. If you worry about pride, yet feel worthless, you need to refine both feelings. Raw pride can’t handle defeat and runs away from it; raw worthlessness implodes. Going with the symptom of pride can help you locate a more expansive self-love; following worthlessness may lead to healthy questioning. Going with the symptom, you become a "big" person.Moore then talks about a related desire for recognition:
Most people I know are too small. They believe they have a limited destiny and little to give to the world. They don’t see how their small ideas can make a real contribution. Transferring their personal authority to someone else — a leader, a writer, or an organization — they give away too much. Identifying themselves as followers, they look to someone "above" them for permission to be who they are or do what they want, and they may draw their confidence from their associations rather than from themselves."
"Closely related to the minor neurosis of pride and worthlessness is the desire for fame and recognition. Some people crave the fame and finances of the privileged few, and their painful awareness of being a "nobody" keeps them from accomplishing much.He concludes, "Pride and craving attention can be problems; nevertheless, they are an invitation to be big even in the small contours of our lives. The solution to having a big ego is to have a big heart."
Again, go with the symptom — the desire for attention. You may have to study, train, and get experience so you can accomplish something and enjoy the appropriate recognition. Sometimes a desire for fame is simply the heart speaking. Most of us need recognition. Recognition and fame are worthy goals for your dedication and hard work.
Parents, teachers, and leaders of all kinds might take this lesson to heart. It’s important to offer words of praise and recognition. It does no good to keep your feelings of gratitude and appreciation to yourself. We all need and even crave recognition. It helps us move on to the next job, and it makes us just a little bigger."
Thomas Moore's Spirituality and Health columns are linked in the Barque: Thomas Moore's Work sidebar.