“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
I have always considered pride and vanity to be the same. I think that this largely stems from the fact that I was not allowed to share my thoughts and feelings I had and it be treated with acceptance. Rather, I was taught that my own thoughts and feelings were disrespectful. With such an upbringing, it is very difficult to even consider letting myself have pride. Recently, I was talking with someone who said that we all should have pride in ourselives, because when we are getting ready to die, we do not need to spend the last moments of our lives full of regret and woes. I have been pondering this lately, and I do understand his stance more.
I love giving to others. I aim to do so, not for accolades but to make a difference. If I was doing this with effort, then there would be little or no satisfaction in it. However, being I do this from my heart, it is quite therapeutic. I take pride in this being a part of who I am. If I were to do this for others’ approval, etc, that would be full of vanity. However, I am happy never having a popular name. We are all people, and helping souls one by one is wonderful. Sure, if I had the ability, I would love to help the masses. However, each one of us is merely a grain of sand. But one grain of sand changes the ocean floor depth, etc.t o
I am on a journey to having a healthy pride in myself. I hope my children grow by leaps and bounds ahead of where I am.
I was groomed to not share opinions and feelings, as that is considered disrespectful to my parents. Then, I am a domestic violence survivor, as my first husband was an unkind man, to word it “nicely.” Due to this, my self-esteem never has developed. In fact, that is a new goal, as I am no worse than anyone else out there, yet I have not given myself that grace.
Two days ago, I needed a screw for my spectacles. Furthermore, I was not taught how to use these transitional lens. I learned on my own while waiting for my husband to stop using his frames and have lens placed in his older frames. I noticed that if my head was raised I could lower my eyes and read a book far better. This new realization caused two thoughts. The first was hearing Mary Poppins telling the two children, “Chin up!” Then, I have a memory from my time in the military with a command “Eyes Front!” This command came after a command for us to look right or left. Between the two mixed with the understanding of good dancing skills, one’s head is raised, and the chin is not angling to the ground.
I have begun walking even before this experience with transitional lens and reading, and I have begun to learn how body language can help one’s own being. For instance, many of you have heard that if you smile, then it will happen inside of you. You will find a true smile. The same is true with having a more confident stance. If you practice it, it will happen. I am not happy to have a body that is declining in its abilities; however, I am pleased to be finding my way with living a healthier emotional life… believe it or not, largely due to my TBI.
Every day my husband works, I take a walk to the store and visit a friend who is working as a security guard. I am open to meeting new people in those moments, to sit and talk with them and hear what they have to say. Monday, I was leaving the store and saw a man of color with a “Vietnam Veteran” cap. I passed him and thanked him for his service. From athere, I wound up sitting beside him and talking with him. He is seventy-six years of age and talked very quietly, but he offered so much. One thing that impressed me was him stating that he asks for help from those younger in age when the person seems down. He needs help but tries to pick the person to help him to not only aid him but to help give that person a lighter heart that seems heavy. I thought this was noteworthy.
After we talked about how he helps the young help him, he then spoke of how he asks younger generations for knowledge about things that he does not know. For instance, he will ask for knowledge from middle-aged individuals or younger as we know more about such compared to many geriatrics. I then commented how I am the perfect age… able to rely on those younger than I regarding new technology and knowledge yet rely on older, wiser people to teach me more about life. Following that, it dawned on me that I will always be the “perfect age”. The reason I say this is that I love learning: about life, science, history, people, etc. We all have things to offer and teach others, and if we are willing, we can always learn something new, if we desire. That has always been a desire of mine for as long as I can remember.
It is a moot point to wish to be older and know more, for when we are older, there is newer science and knowledge. Furthermore, when we are older, our bodies also grow older and more decreppit. It is a vain point to also wish to be younger. People younger do not have the experiences that older individuals have and are still developing wisdom. I am happy with my age, and I believe I always will be, for I am mindful of what I have my own self and how I can glean both from younger and older people than I.
I took a walk today and reminisced about my time admitted at West Florida Rehabilitation Center on the 2nd floor. I remembered some of the patients with whom I was closeby eating a meal and how some of them seemingly did not know I was next to them. I was puzzled as to why this was, but today it dawned on me that they could have been overcoming TBIs as well. Due to this, I called the receptionist and asked if the second floor was where brain injury patients and other patients with brain conditions stayed. She basically agreed this to be true. Upon the end of the phone call, I caught myself nearly in tears.. I didn’t know there were others like myself, and to be honest, I did not understand at that point how traumatic my accident was.
So here I was walking down the road and nearly crying. Then, I remembered the idea of “living in the now” and not the past along with mindfulness exercises. So then, I began focusing on my walk, the breeze, the trees and the cars passing by me.
I, then, pursued an exercise focusing on the cars, watching them pass by me and then not looking behind me to see them. The idea was to help me live in the present and to train myself that the past cannot be changed, and it does not live in the present. From that point, I began to note the present traffic passing by me and how seeing it was only momentary and then became part of the past. There were times I thought of turning my head, but I did not. I recalled the story of Abraham, Lot, and Lot’s wife. They were told to move away from Sodom and Gomorrah and not look back. Lot’s wife looked back and became a pillar of salt. As I mulled this idea, I realized how unfruitful it is to look back on the past and not be focused on the present.. that I, myself, am as productive as a pillar of salt when I do this. Here we are focusing on the past and future which do not exist and do not focus enough on the present. I believe I am going to continue exercising in this fashion on my walks to help train my thought process to be in the present and mindful of each moment as it happens versus causing wear and tear on my mind and body through depression and anxiety over the past and future.