Have you noticed that you don’t feel or talk about pride too often? Or that when you do, it’s not necessarily with a positive vibe around it? In my own journey I’ve found that pride is an energy I haven’t looked much into. I’ve actually even blocked it out of my being. In all cases, I was quite surprised to find my path towards wholeness passing through it. So I thought of bringing some light to it and sharing, so you can consider if you might want to explore it also.
Maybe it’s just the body?
It all began when I noticed that I had a pattern of standing hunched. It was easy to notice, because it was creating pain in my shoulders and upper back. So I decided to explore it by dedicating a couple of the practices I explored in the Connection Playground at it. It was through those experiences that the topic of pride started to emerge as the opposite of being hunched. It seemed to be related to staying small to ensure safety, something I’d felt but never looked into deep enough.
Or perhaps it’s about culture?
From the body, my inner work brought me into the question of my cultural heritage. As a Bulgarian, I found that I grew up seeing people behaving or speaking in ways that favoured staying small. This had a lot to do with our history, the fact that our ancestors were subject to the dominance of the Ottoman empire for 500 years. Because of this, we had sayings like “the blade of wheat that stands taller than the others is the one most likely to be cut off”. It was law that when an Ottoman would meet a Bulgarian, the latter would need to keep his head low to avoid trouble. Our churches were not just smaller than the mosques, they needed to be built below the ground level. Nowadays, whoever exhibits the quality of standing tall and being proud of something is widely considered as too full of themselves. Who the hell are they? Who the hell am I to be standing tall? I am not sure this applies just to Bulgarians. It might be worth checkin whether there’s a thread in your own culture that favours staying small.
What if it’s a refusal to grow up?
Then there’s another layer beneath cultural conditioning that is even more fascinating. It has to do with maturity. From that perspective, staying small is related to the energy of being a child and projecting the parental figure onto the world around. This can exhibit itself in looking at someone else and feeling they are better than us in one way or another. Or in an ambition to create something that is bigger than us so that we can feel small in comparison to it. Or a desire to live or work in an environment where there are large buildings, corporations etc so we can project the largeness of a parent onto them. Once we start looking into this, it’s fascinating to see in how many ways we might favour experiences which make us feel small in comparison to…
This pattern also expresses itself in reverse, as is often the case when we polarise reality. We might feel ourselves as bigger than perhaps another human, a mouse, a mosquito, a virus.Right now our world is being shaken because this small virus suddenly isn’t so small. The perception of it being small is being challenged by the significance we assign to it. It’s actually a very fertile time to check into our relationship with the world around us, the people around us and the beings around us. We are being invited to explore what those relationships would be like if we stand tall and see them standing tall in front of us, on the same level. It’s really about stepping into maturity as humans, on an individual and collective level, where we stop seeing ourselves as bigger than or smaller than…
What does it mean to be proud?
Because of all these realisations, I’ve been wondering what actually is pride. What does it mean? How does it look like in its healthy expression? In my native language, the word is ‘гордост’ (gordost) which has its root in ‘гърди/гръд’ (breast/chest). So pride has something to do with standing with our chest forward. Our chest is where our heart is. Perhaps we can redefine pride in a way that’s about moving with the heart forward. About allowing ourselves to stand tall and witness the beings, the people around us, our creations standing tall in front of us, on the same level.
Where to start exploring this…
If you feel this is relevant to you, I’d invite you to start with the body and look at your posture. Then check with the energy of pride, how much of it you are allowing in your life? What do you understand it to be? If there’s a part of you judging it as an undesirable emotion, ask that part to help you discriminate when pride is coming from the heart or the mind. As we practice and welcome the heart-based experience of pride in our lives, we come not just into a healthier posture, but into a deeper respect for ourselves and others. It is truly a beautiful step towards our maturity as individuals and a collective.
About Lessons in Paradise
I believe we already are in paradise, regardless of where we are and what’s going on in our lives. I believe life is a journey towards becoming aware of this and enjoying as much of it as we can in the limited amount of time we have here. The Lessons in Paradise vlog is the space where I share my process of shedding patterns and beliefs that obstruct our view in order to replace them with presence, joy and wonder. It’s also my invitation to you — an invitation to connect and journey together in creative ways, as we help each other see through to the greatest expression of ourselves.