(Photo by Samantha De La O)
Don’t Let Pride Get the Best of You
By Maxine O’Loane
- a feeling of satisfaction derived from one’s own accomplishments, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired
- having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance
Synonyms: arrogance, superiority, haughtiness, gratification, satisfied, self-sufficient
Before we start, I want to give you a quick vocabulary lesson. I’ll keep it short, promise! When you look up “pride” in the dictionary, a few definitions are given, I’m going to focus on two of them. This might be just me, but I thought it was interesting that even though these definitions are similar, it almost seems like you wouldn’t think they’re describing the same word. I think it’s the same when someone uses the words “pride” and “proud.” Think about it like this, it’s one thing to be “proud” of getting that A+ on a test, and it’s another to have your grade dropped because you’re “pride” kept you from asking for help before the test. Can you see where I’m going with this? Now, before I dig any deeper I want to stress that there is nothing wrong with being proud of something you’ve accomplished. Finally nailed that last 5-count in dance practice, be proud of it! Finished reading that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for the last year, be proud! Resisted the urge to eat that last piece of Banana Split Pie in the fridge from Marie Callender’s and reached for that not as appetizing side salad? You should definitely be a little proud of that. Like I said before, you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished, but it becomes a problem when you let your pride get the best of you.
Let’s be honest here, we’ve all struggled with some type of pride, and if you don’t want to admit it you’re being prideful right now. Proverbs 16:18 does a great job at summing this up, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” Pride is something we all deal with and if we’re not careful it can get us into some trouble. Personally, my biggest struggle with pride tends to revolve around the “I can do it myself” mentality. In other words, I don’t like asking for help, because I feel like I can either figure it out on my own or they won’t do it the way I want it done. I know how bad that sounds, but pride and humility go hand in hand. And how am I supposed to talk about dealing with pride if I’m not willing to humble myself and admit what kind of pride I struggle with?
This verse really stood out to me a couple months ago because I got a little taste first hand of how pride can lead to a “fall,”, or in my I’ve always dreaded, especially when they’re made up of more than three people. I’m usually the one to take charge and delegate who does what for the assignment, and because of my “I don’t need help mentality” I end up doing not only my part but any extra stuff that needs to get done as well. Now, this project included a poster board and an essay to go along with it. The essay had to be a 9 to 12-page report discussing all the research displayed on the board, and all of it had to be in APA (American Psychological Association) format. This is where my pride kicked in, because even though I had no idea how to write in this format, I avoided asking for help from any of the others in my group. Not the best idea, right? Yeah, I learned the hard way. Because I couldn’t humble myself and get the help I needed, my section of the paper ended up causing us to lose more points than I would have wanted. And, I can’t even begin to tell you how embarrassed I was the day we got our grades back. As hard as it was to do, I swallowed my pride and apologized to my group as soon as I had the chance. Fortunately, the rest of the assignment had a high enough score to balance everything out to a B, but it could have all been avoided if I had just put my pride aside, relied on my group and asked for help.
So, going back to Proverbs 16:18 “pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” This verse is basically saying to be mindful that you don’t cross that line from being proud to being full of pride. In my example, my pride kept me from asking for help and the “fall” for that almost cost me my grade. We need to learn how to keep our pride in check, and here’s a few tips on how to do it. One, stay humble and admit you’re wrong or don’t know what you’re doing. Two, remember the Golden Rule “treat others the way you want to be treated” well how about you do one better and “treat others better than you treat yourself”. Compliment often, pay close attention to people when they’re talking to you, and be there for others when you know they need it. Three, ask God for help. Humbling ourselves is a lot easier said than done, but when we ask for help, God will give it to us. And lastly, don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. Truth is, you may have worked hard to get that promotion, spent countless hours studying to ace that exam, or got accepted to that top Ivy League school but you didn’t do it alone. It’s so easy to forget that, (delete comma) even the smallest accomplishments in our lives happened because God had it all planned. So, just keep these tips in mind and in the words of the great Tim McGraw, “always stay humble and kind.”