Ever noticed a negative feature in someone's personality and it made you cringe only to later realize that the reason you were offended was because you too possess that same feature? It happens to me all of the time.
I was sitting down while listening to a man I knew so well. He was telling me about how great his dreams were, how they would radically change the world he lived in, and how, ultimately, it would make him more popular. I tried everything in my power to change the conversation.
I thought to myself, "this guy is SO full of himself."
I almost walked out the room until he asked me a question that anchored me to the conversation.
"So," he said to me with a smirk, "what's new with you?"
Without hesitation I told him all about the small success that I was having recently and I assured him that greater things were yet to come. But, I noticed that I started to pretentiously share with him the events in my life. I felt like I had to keep up with him or beat. I felt challenged by his self-serving narrative. I suppose it was my pride that was challenged.
The great C.S. Lewis once wrote, “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 is gone, pride is gone.”
That truth is prevalent today. It seems to me that more people are struggling with this today than ever before. I think that social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) is wonderful and it is here to stay. It is the way of the present and future. Yet, it really provokes our pride.
Often times we disallow that joy that comes to us when we are content just because someone else is better than us at something, or maybe it's when he or she have something we desire.
I'm appalled by some people's pride but I want to be honest with you. Being prideful, even a closeted one is robbing us severely of the true joys in life.
Lewis is right, competition produces pride.
I see it all the time. In leaders, moms and dads, kids, even in those that understand the chronic effects of pride. I’ve seen it in myself as well.
My prayer is that we all take time to self evaluate our thinking; that we would be honest with ourselves; that we would be thankful for all of the many blessings that we have.
That day I felt disgusted because I couldn’t even be happy for him and for all of his success. Maybe he was just excited to show me how much he had progressed and I diagnosed it as pride because it looked very familiar. It looked like the same pride that is within me.
Pride robs us of the opportunity to be happy for our fellow man.
One of the early signs that you’re about to psychologically and emotionally compete with others is when you begin to compare. It even occurs in children. Needless to say, a lot of adults still have childish tendencies and that is one of them.
When you compare yourself to others for the sake of competition, then you compare from your biased perspective. If you hold yourself in higher esteem then you might be able to convince yourself that you are better or that what you have is better. If you don’t have security in your identity then you ruin your happiness immediately.
I know people who aren’t content with their relationships because they judge the love, excitement, and value of their relationship in comparison to those around them. Maybe you wish your boyfriend was like someone else’s boyfriend or that your relationship was as exciting as someone else’s. Maybe you noticed someone else receive something more expensive than you for their birthday, anniversary, graduation, or social normal event (Christmas/Valentine’s Day/etc.) and now you feel like your significant other doesn’t love you as much.
If you’re competing and losing constantly then you’re more likely to be either miserable or cynical and that’s not healthy.
Pride robs you of your present.
You can’t be happy with what you have if you’re always focused on what you don’t have. (Tweet!)
Look around you right now and take a look at what God’s blessed you with. Please, just take a second to list the people you are grateful for, the experiences that made you better, and the objects you have obtained through hard work. Take joy in that! Furthermore, pride cannot take hold of our way thinking if we are content.
Next time someone posts something or shares something with you and you think they are doing so out of arrogance, reflect. Ask yourself, “If I were in that position would I be doing so with pride?”
Pride robs you of your future.
If you’re constantly competing and are self-serving then you’re most likely using people to get what you want. You’re going to run out of friends quickly. No one wants to be alone. You’re also likely to work so hard to catch up to others that you may lose focus on what’s important in your life.
I once heard a story about a person who built a house neighboring a mansion and cared more about the aesthetics of house rather than it’s foundation or functionality. We know that a house with functionality serves as a waste of space no matter how pretty it looks. We also know that a house with a poorly laid foundation won’t withstand the natural tests of time or its environment. It will crumble and fall.
Worry about yourself and learn to appreciate your journey.
So, we covered that pride robs you of:
1. The opportunity to celebrate someone else
2. Your present and your future.
I’m confident that as you read this that you’ve been led to make amends with yourself and that you would turn to prayer. It isn’t easy battling pride but it isn’t impossible to beat it either.
I will give this topic more attention in future posts. Please tell me how you see pride and how it’s robbed you. Love you all. Thanks for reading and sharing.