I am stuck with pride. I have been teaching myself humility ever since I learned it is considered a desirable attribute, something that makes a person attractive to others, but now I feel like I've been cheating myself all along, that I never wanted to learn humility for its own sake but for the way being humble would make me appear. I don't see all that time gone to waste as I seem to have actually learned something, but I can't help but fear that the foundation for that which I've taught myself might start to crumble. I don't trust myself. I'm afraid I'll turn into a beast.
My pride doesn't cause me trouble in everything I do, but it does in the most important of things. An example: today I absent-mindedly imagined a situation where a family member challenged my profession, my ability to do my job well. In that imagined situation my reaction was aggression, and that family member had to respond with aggression to make me realize I needed to be humble and accept that she might know a lot about this business as well. As that imaginary situation flashed through my mind within a second, I was startled to realize the amount of insecurity it implied. Although I did just realize, that if the person challenging me would have been any other person instead of this family member, my reaction would have been more friendly, yet perhaps somehow one that tries to maintain a higher status, unless the one challenging me is clearly of a "higher rank". I think this problem actually originates with the person I'm referring to, or at least the aggression does, but I will not open it here as it is of a personal kind. Seeing that there's still a mild reaction to other challengers as well, I'm still a bit wary of myself.
There was also another thing today that triggered the pride issue. I noticed a reaction that told me I can't accept and execute an idea offered by a certain person, because people around me (that person included) might see it as copying, being brainwashed or an attempt to please. I got really irritated, because I find the idea really intriguing and worth a try, and it would suck to not attempt it because of a fear of others reacting to it in a negative, demeaning way. If it considers my process and might be of assistance, why should anyone's reactions stop me from doing it?
What's worrisome is also the fact that the better I get at music, the less I have to face the insecurity that drives me nuts every time someone's "better" than me. I noticed it surfacing a couple of times at my entrance exams and tried to stop it every time it arose, but as I was better than most, all I was dealing with was "good, no competition from that one". Although the better I get, the less I have a need of proving myself. I know I can, and I know others can, too.
What this all comes down to is my insecurity. I still feel like I need to prove myself "worthy" by some imagined standards through whatever it is I happen to be doing. There are some exceptions, though: whenever I do things out of pure joy, the insecurity disappears. For example, in the entrance exams I ended up acting mostly through joy and managing to keep the fear to a minimum, and that, I think, is the reason I seem to have succeeded. (I tried talking about the joy to my fellow candidates, but the ones I talked to didn't seem to get it, or maybe it was too much too sudden. Oh well, maybe I'll get another chance once I get in. God, I hope so. That's one small thing I can do to influence the business, to be the virus within the beast: start a conversation within that small group of people I will be working with. Define the language you will be using, do it carefully, establish a working foundation for communication. That's where I'll begin, where we will begin.)
Joy might be a channel for me to release pride. Acting out of joy. There is no fear in joy. One can act out of duty, responsibility, need, "calling", whatever, but is any of that truly fearless? Joy leaves one very bare; it is to expose your nature. One needs to be without fear to rejoice. I think one needs to find joy in whatever they do to make it worth while, but not through the mind by thinking "tralalaa yes I find this most enjoyable now don't I", trying to trick oneself into "liking" what they're doing - joy can be found by simply being here right now, by being present in every moment of every action. You need to clean the toilet? Fine! Grab the brush and do it. No deed is actually unenjoyable: we just make them that way by telling ourselves they are "deeds" and "stuff we have to do" (such as working) instead of every moment just being here and every action being purely just that, an action, movement, presence. What you will, will be.