Clancy I., in one of his talks, stated that false pride is a killer for alcoholics. He defined false pride as a compensation for feeling “less than”. That statement defined my life. From early childhood, I was constantly seeking approval through actions or achievements. Just being “Michael” wasn’t good enough. I never felt OK. This resulted in my lifelong pursuit of success, so I would get approval from others. I was under the delusion, it states in the Big Book, that I could wrest satisfaction and happiness by managing well. When I lived like that, I could never get enough things or recognition to satisfy my ego. There would be brief moments of triumph and peace, but they would never last.
Someone came up to me after a meeting several weeks ago and asked how I could have problems, since I was a successful physician. I replied, “Being a physician was not enough to make me feel OK”.
When you are dominated by false pride, fear is a constant companion. I had fear of disapproval or not getting what I thought I needed to be a success. If I felt threatened, in any way about these things, I would get angry and have resentment. If I felt less than someone, I would compensate by judging them. I became a people pleaser and wanted approval, even if I did not like that person. I lived my life 299-1. Ed M. talked about this and made the point that 299 people could tell me how great I was, but if 1 did not, I would focus on that 1 and forget the 299.
I, of course, would like to be thought well of, all of us do, but I do not have to be dependent on others, anymore, to be OK. I have no control of what people think of me. I only have control of how I react and treat others. It is my job each day to do God’s business and God’s business is to take care of me. My self esteem is not dependent on things or what people think of me, but on how I act. I heard, at a meeting a long time ago, that we build self esteem through esteemable acts.
I still have to watch for false pride and not feeling good enough. That never goes away. But, with God’s help, I can ask him to help change the way I see any situation. I can practice with his help, love and tolerance. Today I feel OK when I am close to God and serving him and others.