Pride can be a good thing. Pride motivates us to do well, become better, reach higher.
Pride keeps me as independent as I can be. It pushes me to be strong and try harder. It keeps me exercising, eating, taking on and finishing projects, going to doctor appointments, taking medicine, doing what I can to help myself each day.
Pride is positive when others are proud of us. I don’t think we ever outgrow the desire for others to be proud of us. It’s rewarding to see and feel the approval of those who love us when we have accomplished things, and it is richly satisfying to hear someone say the words “I’m proud of you.”
Pride is positive when we are proud of others. We celebrate physical milestones of babies when they learn to crawl, stand and walk. It’s almost impossible not to cheer and applaud such victories. When kids are young, we tell them we’re proud of them as a form of encouragement and positive reinforcement. We push them to take pride in their schoolwork and performance in sports and other activities. We reward graduations and give congratulations for new jobs. We give handshakes, thumbs-up, high-fives and fist-bumps to those who have achieved good things. We smile and are glad for them in their achievements.
But pride can go too far, crossing the line from being an asset to being a detriment. Pride becomes negative when our pride of others leads us to take credit and be proud of ourselves for our contribution to their achievement, or pride from others causes our own pride to become inflated. It can keep us from seeing our own faults, give us a false sense of importance, and prevent us from asking for help when we need it. Pride can shift from satisfied to smug.
Pride kept me from using mobility equipment past the time I reasonably needed it. Pride has put me in physically risky situations instead of asking for help from those who love me and are eager to assist me. It keeps me from asking for help when I truly need it. Pride keeps me from accepting offers of help or asking for help from other people when it might lighten the load for my husband. By refusing help from others, my pride can keep possible blessings from them. When I was able, I enjoyed helping others. I must remember that other people might enjoy it too and see it as a positive thing to accept offers from others who are eager to lend a hand.
Pride can be both a positive and negative thing. A balance of pride and humility must repeatedly be found. I guess the line can be drawn where my pride crosses from helping others or me to inconveniencing or even hurting others, especially those I love. When my actions stop making others proud of me and they are instead frustrated with me, I must see pride has gone too far and has become more foe than friend. I have to recognize when it becomes an enemy. I pray for a clear picture of where that line is and for the ability to stay on the correct side of it.
This is my view of how pride works in my life. What about you? What helps you stay grounded, keeping pride in the correct place?