In talking with my mother about the culture of the county in which she was raised, which I only visited as a child, I have come to a new understanding of some of my habits. It frightens me to be publicly recognized for my achievements. Actually, that applies to any recognition, even one-on-one.
Compliments are not something that I find easy to receive. My mind focuses on where things “could have been better.” While this mindset pushes me to do better, it also thwarts my ability to feel at ease or at peace with … just about everything in my life.
Where my mom grew up, those who “had more” or who “looked pretty” were targeted by others … there was a culture of rape and a fair amount of lawlessness. So anyone who “had,” could be expected to have something taken.
The effects of this culture meant people were, out of fear, generous in giving to others and also in putting down their own achievements. It was better to be pitied (at least people would “bless your heart”) than to be seen as having something that someone else wanted.
So here I sit with this awareness. Seeing how complicated it can be to feel comfortable with being at peace or even happy. Softening into the fear, shining the light of my awareness on why happiness has scared me, aside from brief glimpses. Slowly, the fear begins to melt.
Within a metta meditation, I send love back up the ancestral lines, and the community that brought this fear into being. May all beings be at peace.