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This last weekend, I was drinking at 9:30 in the morning with a good friend of mine.  (Hey before you judge us, it was a Saturday–and it’s not like anyone was going to ask us to work Air Traffic Control at the local airport.)  The only thing better than having a cocktail in the morning is having several cocktails in the morning.  Besides, it’s nice to have friends who mutually enable each other.  

So we were discussing the woes in our bitter little worlds, and we got to chatting about pride and confidence.  I pointed out how some people seem to have so much pride in themselves, and I’m never really sure if it’s confidence or false bravado.  I have lost over 375 pounds.  Even with people telling me what a phenomenal feat that is, I don’t really feel a huge amount of pride about it.  I often wonder where the self-promotion some people seem to have comes from.  My friend’s theory is that those who have an excess of self-confidence are simply overcompensating for the issues they want to hide from others.  It’s the difference between being confident and being cocky.

Pride is a funny thing.  It can motivate you.  It can embarrass you.  It can get you into trouble.  Pride tells you not to let those Hell’s Angels disrespect you.  Stand up for yourself, punk!  Pride tells you that you are hot enough for that redhead across the club–and then when she shoots you down, pride whispers in your ear that’s she’s probably a lesbian.  Pride also tells you, when you’ve been knocked down, to stand up and try again.  Pride tells you that you aren’t going to allow yourself to be defeated.  Pride in one’s self is a good thing to a certain point…but excessive pride is obnoxious.

We came to the conclusion that quiet modesty is a good thing.  It’s better to accept compliments with a simple thank you, because to be confident is to be zen with yourself.  People respond to someone who is self-assured; someone who knows their strengths and also their weaknesses.  It’s a sign of a leader.   It also reminds me of all those Playmate data sheets.  Centerfolds always write in that bio section of their pictorials that they like confident–not cocky–men…or so I been told by people who have read them. 

I get compliments about my looks now, and I never really know how to respond.  It seems to surprise people that I am uncomfortable by the kindness. What they don’t get is that I am waiting for the but or the if to follow their words.  You look good…but you would look great if you just lost some weight.  You would be cute…if you could just drop some pounds.  After hearing but and if for the better part of 42 years, it’s hard to resist the urge to flinch when a flattering remark starts coming my way.  If someone gives me a compliment and doesn’t follow it up with a but or an if, I get suspicious.  I wonder what they want from me.  

I get in trouble when people ask me about losing weight.  It sounds so cliché, but I figure that if I am able to lose weight, anyone can do it.  I don’t feel special.  What does special feel like?  How would I know I’m special?  Growing up,  if you were special it meant you went to the remedial classes and rode the short bus to school.  I’m not sure that’s what people want to hear, but that is how I feel–and I don’t view what I have accomplished as incredible or phenomenal.  I view it as just something I needed to do.  I want to feel great about what I have done…but the best I can seem to feel about the entire process is relief.

I do not have pride and confidence in myself for what I have done.  I have pride and confidence in myself for who I am.



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