Pride is a word used positively and negatively. Partly, this is due to different meanings, but there is even dispute about whether the most common meaning (the one I’m talking about) is a positive or negative attribute. Here is the definition.
Pride (n): inordinate self-esteem : conceit
This is the type of pride I’m talking about, and here are two ways it will ruin your life.
1. Riskless In Seattle
Life’s best returns often require the greatest risk. The USA only exists because of the extreme risk ancestors took to oppose British rule. Having high risk tolerance is a wholly good trait. Do you know why? High risk tolerance doesn’t necessarily mean that you will always take huge risks – high risk tolerance only means that you’re willing to play a bigger game.
To give an example, there are plenty of people who lack the risk tolerance to start a business. Even if everything else is in place for them (skill, desire, funding, idea, business plan), they can’t bring themselves to risk the time, money, reputation, or effort in something that could fail. Their low risk tolerance rules out a great number of opportunities. These people aren’t necessarily prideful, but pride is a common reason for this.
Pride makes us self-conscious. When we think so highly of ourselves, we tend to protect our (self-assigned) status rather than strive for something better. Pride forces us to focus on the downside instead of the upside, no matter how significant. “What if I failed and everyone saw me?”
The prideful know they have a long way to fall, and that their perch is dry-rotted (prideful people are birds?), making them feel in constant danger of falling. It’s why if you challenge a prideful person, even a little, they will viciously defend themselves. They’re scared the card house will fall apart.
It’s an upsidedown view of reality – where you are already at the top and will fall if you make a mistake. The truth is that none of us are ever at the top, and there is no fall too great to overcome, learn from, and leverage to get higher than ever before. The spice of life is primarily cinnamon, after which comes learning and growing from trial and error.
Because of the poisonous mindset of a prideful mind – prideful people are, ironically, the most likely ones to be stuck in mediocrity and image management. Don’t let it be you. Stay humble and you’ll climb safely higher, because even at 20,000 feet, your mind will be at sea level.
2. Abrasive Relation Station.
Pride is to relationships as cyanide is to health.
A pride contest has no winner because nobody likes the winner. Humans don’t respond well to being put down, and pride gives others that feeling with its “better than you” implications. Humility has the opposite effect. If you (amazing as you are) put others above yourself, they’ll feel good whenever they’re around you. They’ll like you!
Many relationship issues are caused by pride. If you can’t admit you’re wrong, it’s your pride telling you to “win” the argument. If you take an all or nothing stance it’s because giving any credit to others hurts your pride. If you have a lot of pride, you might even refuse to communicate, which is the worst relationship blunder a person can make.
Pride alters communication and connection. When you put yourself on a pedestal, it makes it difficult for anyone to get close to you. Your ability to be vulnerable, which is the primary way we show trust to each other, will be compromised. Pride and vulnerability can’t coexist. If I show you my weakness, my pride takes a back seat because I’ve just shown imperfection, and pride is an illusion of perfection that we tell ourselves and others.
Pride Makes You Weak, Vulnerability Makes You Strong
Pride is a paper-thin image, ready to be torn by the slightest impact. At any moment, the real you, with all of your flaws and insecurities, can be revealed to the world. In showing yourself stronger than you are, you’re setting yourself up for a big and painful drop.
Watch out! Pride presents itself as something positive, but underneath the pretty veil is an ugly way to live life with nasty hidden consequences.
But vulnerability, the less popular choice, has the opposite effect. What if you were open about your weaknesses and accepted them? The world might tear you up a little bit, right? That’s why vulnerability can’t be tossed around carelessly. But if you’re careful about showing your humanity in humility, and accept that you don’t have everything together, magic happens.
People like you more because they know you’re real. Real people have faults. Prideful, fake people make sure not to show any fault. Your true colors are a brilliant mix of fault and merit, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Not only that, but starting with humility and vulnerability grant you confidence in who you really are. Confidence is the good aspect of pride that causes so many of us to fall in the trap. Pride brings confidence with it, but when your confidence is based on an image that is not you, you can lose it.
In the first part of the article, I listed two ways pride can ruin your life – your career and your relationships. These are arguably the most important areas in life, based on how much time is spent on them.
Take a step back as if you’re looking at your life as an outsider, and consider the difference between managing a perfect image and being willing to make a few mistakes in the public eye. The latter is freeing, isn’t it? It isn’t like pride – a cage that forces your hand to act in order to preserve it. Pride makes people slaves.
Pride is one of the flaws of our race. We’ve all been prideful at times and in our own ways, and we will all be prideful at times in the future. The difference comes in how we view it – as a beneficial trait or a detrimental one. Those who see it as beneficial make it their lifestyle, and this is what I’m warning you against. Don’t let the allure of a pristine image draw you into the pride slave cage.
This concept is nothing new.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
~ Proverbs 16:18