Pride and Control

There is a little Napoleon that lives inside of me.


 The incident in second grade is as vivid for me as if it happened yesterday.  By the teacher’s reaction, I knew that my behavior was inappropriate but I didn’t know why.  She never explained, at least to me, and I was left feeling confused and unsettled.  I don’t think she ever contacted my mother; the “problem” was never mentioned.  Although on second thought, parenting was low on the list of priorities.  We were feral children.

And so it remained for me to figure out.

It’s taken a very long time.

On the day to which I’m referring, I was assigned to the “safety patrol”.  The duty included keeping everyone quiet and orderly as we waited for the bus to take us home.  Once the bus arrived, everyone was to walk single file to get aboard.  And to do it quietly.  No talking or, God forbid, laughing or joking.  Complete silence.  We’re talking second grade here.  Probably about 25 to 30 little bundles of light and energy.

Well, I just began pulling kids out of line right and left and ordering (shouting?) others to “Be quiet!”.  “Shut up!” was often a favorite saying in my family of dysfunction so it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s what came out.  It was only a matter of moments before I was stripped of power and left awkwardly dazed on the sidelines.

Now anyone who knows me, knows I take my responsibilities most seriously.  Some might say overly so. It was as inherent to my nature then as it now.  They also know I’m a very black and white thinking type of gal.  A good portion of my “work” has been to allow  those shades of gray and other colors entrance into my thought processes.

Rigid is not good.

Not in body and not in mind.

Everything in nature needs to bend.  Needs to be yielding and flexible to survive.

This theme of pride, control and rigidity has run in and out of my life creating havoc whenever I was riding its wave.  The good news is that I really think I’m working it out.

 The stronghold.  The blind spot.  What I haven’t been able to see about myself.

There are things we know and there are things we know we don’t know.  For example, I know that I know how to cook.  I also know that I don’t know how to speak Spanish.

But… most important to learn are the things we don’t know that we don’t know.

This is not a typo.  It’s a saying I first heard way back in my self-help days at a Landmark Forum.  A kinder, gentler version of E.S.T.

 Much of my soul-searching has been like this:  sometimes when I gaze up at the night sky I can see a star off to the side in my peripheral vision. But the moment I turn to look directly at it, it disappears.  Gone.

It’s become more important than ever that I learn how to lead without dictatorship.  To direct others with the understanding they are not me and may have their own way of accomplishing a task.  And to offer correction with respect and dignity.

To love those around me as I would love myself.

My new position is challenging me to stay self-aware but with the focus on others.  A challenge that is only happening because of my sobriety.

Today I turn 62.  Today I am sober.

Today I have 117 days by His amazing grace.

It’s been a long tunnel.

I can see the light.

Author: Elizabeth

Happy, joyous & free. Thanks be to God.

18 thoughts on “Pride and Control”

  1. An open mind helps me see those things I could have never anticipated.
    My rigidity and judgemental sides are very strong as well.
    Letting them go has been a slow process. But it is definitely worth it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think we all have that inner Napoleanna, and about first and second grade, it really comes out. I could see it in the kids I used to tutor. I just spent a weekend at an A Course in Miracles event, and the entire subject was freeing other people of our expectations of them. In particular, they stressed that you have to do it even in your thoughts. So what used to be just a matter of holding my tongue, is now me mentally letting go of what I think should happen, what I think they should do, and what I would do in their place. It’s not easy. That inner dictator is hard to tame in just day-to-day conversation, much less in the workplace.
    As always, thanks for your insight and honesty, Elizabeth. 117 days is like light years!
    Love, Napoleanna II

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Power and authority are so hard for me to handle. All ego. No Christ. I never saw that in myself before. Yes, thoughts are the most important! The beginning of all action. I just thank them for passing through my brain. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I did have a wonderful weekend, and it was all about letting go of the ego’s need to control. I’m really trying to let negative emotions pass through me now. I usually just try to ignore them or stop them immediately. Apparently, that doesn’t work. This “feel your feelings” is new for me. I have actively resisted feelings I didn’t like for some time. Let me know how it works for you. Does it get easier with practice?
        Have a wonderful day! 💕

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Every time I judge someone, I remember to look inside myself. If I’m honest with myself, most times I find the same behavior I’m judging. Very hypocritical. All that I have, all that I am is because of Him. I have received so much more than I deserve in everything especially His mercy and grace so I try to remember to pass it on. Give freely and generously to others what was so freely and generously bestowed on me. Some days are harder than others and when they are, I try to remember to give myself the same compassion. Does it get easier with practice? Not sure easier is the right word. I think as we practice, love is allowed more room and crowds out the negativity. So I guess yes would be my answer sister. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We really are on the same path. Rigid is exactly the right word to describe what happens when I’m actively judging a situation or person … even the weather! It’s like a crazy kind of wishful thinking that stops me from noticing what’s really going on around me. And I believe that you are completely worthy of mercy and grace, and therefore, I must be too. 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. this is a beautiful post! happy bday elizabeth! 🙂 especially love this line, “Rigid is not good.
    Not in body and not in mind. Everything in nature needs to bend. Needs to be yielding and flexible to survive.” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an accomplishment my friend and happy belated birthday (as I slowly emerge from my cave..)
    Your writing and perspectives are always so poignant and resonate deeply with me.
    Specifically in this piece:

    “Rigid is not good.
    Not in body and not in mind.
    Everything in nature needs to bend.  Needs to be yielding and flexible to survive.”


    “There are things we know and there are things we know we don’t know. “


    “And to offer correction with respect and dignity.
    To love those around me as I would love myself.”


    Liked by 1 person

  5. A big loud HAPPY BIRTHDAY! To you, albeit belated.

    I was laughing out loud: Napoleanna. Ha! But man can I relate to it. My urge to control is out of control, no doubt. I had my Waterloo like Napoleon too. I had to surrender to get out.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.