Over the years as I’ve continued to help people in my career, I’ve noticed one element that has a big impact on everybody’s life. It’s one powerful word, one action, one emotion, and one habit that occurs within an individual that can destroy relationships within one minute, even in one heartbeat. This word has been used in many areas of life. This word does not care if you’re rich, middle class, or poor. Webster’s Dictionary describes this word as the following: “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” It can come in different forms; this word is Pride. We always think being prideful as what Webster’s describes. Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. Ezra Taft Benson states that pride is a feeling we have that gives us a sense of proudness above one another or above somebody that’s below us. Benson states that this can become a sin within one’s heart; when one person puts themselves above another this can become dangerous in nature. This is how wars begin; the them vs us or you versus me mentality. The I need to get ahead of you or I’m better than you. Another Benson goes on to state pride makes “every man an adversary by pitting their intellects, opinions, works, wealth, talents, or any other worldly measuring device against others.”Over the years as a life coach with couples and families, I’ve seen this pitfall many times. When an individual is proud or in other words prideful, they will look for an advantage over the other and it becomes very disheartening within the relationship.
In the words of C. S. Lewis: “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. … It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan, 1952, pp. 109–10.)
Pride is the hardest to overcome, it becomes like an addiction. Like C.S. Lewis said, more than the other person, the person that is proud feels that they need to have control or they need to be in control. When it comes to couples when they fight over little things, pride comes in. They need to be right and the other person has to be proven wrong. Some fights will go on for days or even months. It all depends on their willingness to let go of this big word called pride. Pride has taken down nations in the history of our books; we have seen it because the proud want to gain control over the others around them. I recently had the experience to see this within government in city officials; pride is the willingness not to do what is right because the need to have their own agenda, fame, or recognition is too great. This is not a new issue in our society, this has always been around. This is what society was built on; conquerors push their purpose and control, fighting over lands, over who was better and more powerful. It was through pride that Christ was crucified. The Pharisees were wroth because Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, which was a threat to their position, and so they plotted His death (See John 11:53). As Ezra Taft Benson said, beware of pride.
Fear of men’s judgment manifests itself in competition for men’s approval. The proud love “the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43). Our motives for the things we do are where the sin manifests. Jesus said He did “always those things” that pleased God (John 8:29). Would we not do well to have the pleasing of God as our motive rather than to try to elevate ourselves above our brother and outdo another?
Over the years I find this to be the key of overcoming a lot of heartache is learning to check your pride at the door. Dr. John Lund, which he points out through the research of Dr. Gottman, that individuals need to have willingness, knowledge, and skills to be effective within their communication and getting their needs met. I know for myself, I need to check my pride before going into a situation with a loved one or a business associate. If you think you can do a better, you can’t be a part of a team. You always need to work as a team, whether it is your family or for the business associates, or anywhere that you run into that you, you must be willing to set pride aside and be a team to accomplish the greater good. If you doubt the benefits of teamwork, look at the empire of Julius Ceasar and all the great empires of old; they all worked for the recognition of their work, and it did turn out too well for them. These ancient, prideful men all failed because of their own arrogance. So don’t let your empire fall due to this one word, Pride. Work on it constantly. Humble yourselves before each other, and if you can’t do it, find or seek out someone to help you to get to that point of overcoming pride. There is a way to overcome pride, and being able to learn to work as a team to build a great empire together, which is a great success for everyone.
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