Seven Deadly Me’s.

By Beck

I’ve been writing a lot about jealousy this week, although I don’t know why. Jealousy is a horrible thing to admit to, a terrible pettiness, and I am a very jealous person. Not just of people who have things financially better than me, but also of people who have talents that I covet, traits that I’d rather have than my own. Oh, and I’m fiercely (albeit quietly) jealous of any woman who speaks to my husband, smiling pleasantly while I mentally see red.

It is not enough that I have a happy, pleasant, reasonably comfortable life – no, I must have a happier, pleasanter, richer life than the people around me. It is not enough that my husband loves, cherishes and honours me – he must do so by pretending that there are no other women in the whole world, including women he has business dealings with.


I would much rather confess to gluttony, and I frequently have. My love of cooking is an offshoot of my love of eating, the two tightly interwoven. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m upset. I eat when I’m angry. And now I am a little bit fat and I’m realizing that I should approach food with more wisdom and not quite so much whole-hearted affection.


Anger is not my besetting sin, which is good because out of all of them it is the most disgusting. Angry people are horrible to be around – even when they’re not like snarling pitbulls, they still force everyone they know to walk on constant eggshells, lest they trigger off ol’ grouchy. Quite cheerfully, I can say that I don’t beat my children or scream at my husband, that I don’t berate strangers or swear at salesclerks.

Nor am I carried away by extremes of lust. Recently, several local marriages have broken up unexpectedly and dramatically when the woman in each couple left with someone completely startling – well, startling to me, anyhow. I can never see how replacing one shlubby 45 year old guy with a NEARLY IDENTICAL shlubby 45 year old guy and throwing all of one’s children into disarray can be in any way a desirable state of affairs, can be worth the effort. And yet I guess when one is in the transports of blinding lust, it might seem like a better idea than it does to the outside world – although I’m just guessing here because, hey, I am happily married (no matter how often I mentally give other women the stink eye.).

And then we come to greed. Ah. For a jealous person, I am not a terribly greedy person – I am fairly indifferent to material possessions, on the whole, and obviously I am not leading a life dedicated to financial gain. I was possessed with a burning desire (for me, anyhow) for a Wii, but now that we have one, I am above such petty things as the consuming urge to acquire material objects. Or I WILL be, once I get a few more things from my list. Moving on!

I’d write about sloth but I was busy having a little nap. It’s easy to joke about laziness, but it’s actually been a big problem in my life. I have a terrible work ethic. It’s something that I see and despair over, although I am actually rather too lazy to do anything much about it.

And finally we come to my big failing – pride.

No matter how cheerfully I admit to being a lazy, slothful, gluttonous, green-eyed snake of a person (I think I’d better change my internal metaphors, since I have – unexpectedly – two green-eyed children.), I still think that I am rather cute. “You’re such a good writer!” says a friend, and I think OH, I KNOW. “You’re so pretty!” exclaims my grandma, and I think I CERTAINLY AM. “Smart!” says a reader, and I think IT’S ABOUT TIME TODAY THAT SOMEONE NOTICED.

We’ve decided that as a society, that we want our children filled with resilient high self-esteem, an overweening sense of pride in themselves – and yet it has always been known that proud people are dangerous people. Psychopaths and drug czars, for instance, almost ALWAYS have high-self esteem. And on a day-to-day basis, I cannot think highly of myself without thinking rather poorly of others, and I cannot have a tremendous sense of entitlement without thinking that other people are entitled to less than me.

It’s easy for me to look at this list in terms of how I’d like my children to grow up: I want them to be not motivated by jealousy, want them to have a healthy relationship with food, I want them to be peacemakers, chaste, not motivated by a desire for things, for money. I want them to be hard-working and cheerful, and I want them to be gently modest. It is less easy to think of my goals for my children and to realize how gravely short I fall of them.

Beck blogs at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

23 Responses to Seven Deadly Me’s.
  1. Katy
    August 21, 2008 | 8:32 am

    Oh my goodness, I could have written this post. These are some of the exact thoughts I have on a regular basis. Thanks so much for your honesty–it’s nice to know I’m not alone! 🙂

  2. Susanne
    August 21, 2008 | 10:03 am

    Your last paragraph, wow, totally hits home. I think as parents we all struggle with this in some form. We have these huge ideals for our children and struggle to produce them in our own lives. I guess it’s all part of wanting better for our kids than we have ourselves taken out of the material and extended into the morals and values of life.

  3. Heather
    August 21, 2008 | 10:35 am

    Yes, I can only hope that my children do as I say and not as I do, but I know things don’t work that way. Although I’m pretty hard on myself. I’m probably not doing as badly as I constantly think I am.

  4. Painted Maypole
    August 21, 2008 | 11:28 am

    i think that we need to allow pride to go hand in hand with respect for others. I think we can feel good about ourselves without thinking that others are less or deserve less (You know, the whole “we’re all God’s children” thing)

  5. Cyndi
    August 21, 2008 | 11:48 am

    This is very honest of you, Beck. I read this morning in James that if you are a friend of the world, you are an adulterer. That hit a little too close to home for me and put things in quite a different perspective.

  6. Moriah
    August 21, 2008 | 12:33 pm

    Such truth and honesty in this post. Thank you.

  7. Holly
    August 21, 2008 | 2:21 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but I worry about how on earth I’ll raise good people when I fail so often to be good myself. Just have to keep trying, I guess. I’d be rather afraid to write my own “seven sins” list – good for you for being honest with yourself.

  8. Woman in a window
    August 21, 2008 | 2:21 pm

    This is why I strive for very little for my kids, so that I don’t have to aim too high. Just kidding on the second part, but what I really think it all boils down to in the end, the stuff that holds onto the inside of the pot, is how we treat other people. If our kids are hard workers, they’ll be helpful. If they aren’t glutinous, they’ll share. If they take time to consider other people’s ideas and perspectives, maybe they won’t judge so much. And so it goes, treat others as you would have yourself treated.

    Then I work on myself. Little steps. It’s not always as easy as it would seem in a static moment, looking in. As soon as other personalities are involved it gets more confusing. But everyday I take a deep breath and say, I’m gonna start over…and try…try…to be better.

  9. nomotherearth
    August 21, 2008 | 2:29 pm

    I think the key to pride is the ability to be proud of one’s own accomplishments without setting them against the supposed failings of others. Easier said than done, though.

    And speaking as someone who is dealing with the sin of Anger quite often these days, the most awful thing about anger is that you know what you are feeling is inappropriate, but you feel powerless to stop it in the moment.

  10. Kelly
    August 21, 2008 | 2:47 pm

    I’m sure you’ve heard it said that pride is the root of every other sin. And looking through the lens of my life, I see the truth in that.

    I love your authenticity and vulnerability, Beck.

  11. Hannah
    August 21, 2008 | 3:03 pm

    You sound very human … a work in progress, like all of us.

    Many times when I catch myself wishing my children were more virtuous in a particular way or wanting them to grow up to be Practically Perfect in Every way, I come to the realization that what I want is for them to be Better Than I Am.

  12. Alison
    August 21, 2008 | 4:10 pm

    Sorry to feed your ego, but this post is so honest and funny and thought-provoking. Amazing how thinking what you want for your kids changes your perspective.

  13. Heidi
    August 21, 2008 | 5:08 pm

    Excellent post. It is good to think about our desires for our children and try to match those same personality traits in ourselves. Maybe impossible, but it does bring the point home.

  14. Jen
    August 21, 2008 | 5:51 pm

    I have found that motherhood makes me constantly desire to be a better person than I am. I only wish I’d made more progress on my character in the four years I’ve been a mother. It’s a life-long process, I suppose, and at least if we’re mindful of it in ourselves we can give our children a head start by purposefully parenting them to have a good character from the time they are young. Great post!

  15. Maddy
    August 21, 2008 | 6:10 pm

    I shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. I think if we at least know some or all of our failings, then we have a chance of giving our children a better shot.

  16. Veronica
    August 21, 2008 | 7:26 pm

    I think what I liked most about this post was its cheery, hopeful tone. You write like a woman who knows that you are not Awesomely Responsible for fixing yourself, that someone else is around to do that for you.

    Can I say *wink wink nudge nudge* when I’m referring to Jesus?

  17. Jennifer
    August 22, 2008 | 12:05 am

    Ye olde double standard.
    You got me there. I tend to be a lot tougher on the kids than I am on myself.

  18. Zoltan
    August 22, 2008 | 2:49 am

    I think being a parent is a tough challenge. The hardest part probably is to give as much “freedom” as possible to your child and to set up the rules for them to follow at the same time. They have to learn that there are rules that the society accepts otherwise there is a chaos or disaster what nobody wants.
    “Constructive” love is the point, I guess.

  19. Cristan
    August 22, 2008 | 10:03 am

    Great, introspective post! Sloth is definitely my worst trait (as I sit in my nightgown at 10am!) I hope I’m not creating a bunch of memories for little d of a lazy mom who only gets moving when she HAS to.

  20. Minnesotamom
    August 22, 2008 | 12:48 pm

    Great post, Beck. Oddly enough, I was planning on writing about my own sense of entitlement. Maybe I’ll wait until next week. I think pride tends to be my greatest sin, too. I smugly look down on others all the while pretending that I am so humble and modest. Ugh. And I can (sadly) admit to several of the other sins as well. Reminds me of a song…

  21. Omaha Mama
    August 25, 2008 | 8:56 pm

    Laziness, sigh. I don’t like to admit to it. I certainly don’t want to do anything about it. But it is a teensy (huge) problem.

  22. Shelly
    August 29, 2008 | 9:02 am

    I am struggling with my issues with jealousy as well. I tend to be jealous over everything.

    However, I think the fact that you realize this and admit it is a great first step.

  23. Para Ma
    April 15, 2012 | 9:08 am

    Great website…

    […]we like to honor many other internet sites on the web, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages worth checking out[…]……

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