Happy 147th birthday, Canada. I have been around for almost half of those years and truly appreciate the country I live in.
It was in 1959, when I first left home to report for duty in the army, that I got my first glimpse of the immensity and diversity of our country. For three and a half days I traveled from Vancouver to Kingston, Ontario, through the mountains, across the prairies, past the scrub trees and small lakes of northern Ontario and the huge ones known as the Great Lakes. This experience was mirrored by the fellow recruits I was to meet from the various parts of our country. They spoke with different accents and carried with them the cultural influences of their ancestry.
Rather than expanding my consciousness, however, this adventure into uncharted waters only served to steer me deeper into my fears. Perhaps it was a blessing that basic training gave me little time to think. I wanted to go home but felt I would not be able to face my father and uncles who had served during the Second World War.
Pride, whether in one’s country, gender, ancestry or sexual orientation is a means of joining with others in a common belief to garner strength from it. In itself, it is like a double-edged sword; it can be both something to embrace and something to rid oneself of. It all depends on one’s spiritual progress.
For those with low self-esteem, as I knew intimately for so many years, it provides something to uplift the spirit. If a person is held back by shame, guilt, rejection or depression, pride in something or someone is definitely a feeling to strive for. Pride in oneself is very important. Mixed with it, however, are often feelings of wanting to put someone else down to make yourself look better. Pride can lead to intolerance and an nonacceptance of the ways of others. Resentments towards others who seem to be better off emerge as well.
A case in point is the loss by the American soccer team to the Belgians in Brazil. Many people enjoy watching the Americans lose. Regardless of which team was playing, they were all athletes striving to do their best for their country. To hold feelings of animosity towards a team because of the politics or prosperity of their homeland is irrational. Harbouring such feelings is an attempt to make someone else responsible for your own feelings of inadequacy.
Happiness can be achieved only by taking responsibility for one’s feelings and not blaming others. Take note of your habit of blaming events or individuals for the way you feel. Blaming is a major component of low self-esteem.
I am not a flag waver but I greatly enjoyed Canada Day yesterday. Best wishes to our American neighbours as they celebrate their big day and congratulations to the members of all the soccer teams for the magnificent performance they have given the world.
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