There's someone who I used to be really close with who taught me a very valuable lesson. One day, while we were discussing what we thought our core character flaws were (I said mine were impatience and fear), they told me that they know they are arrogant and prideful. However, because they are also smart, funny, generous, talented, and pretty friendly, I didn't give those two words as much attention as I should have.
And boy, I really should have. Over the course of our very unique friendship, I must say that when things were good between us, they were uncannily beautiful. But boy oh boy, when things were bad, the mixture of my impatience and fear along with their arrogance and pride made for the perfect storm that devastated feelings and ultimately destroyed our connection.
Maybe one day, I'll get into how impatience and fear bring about their own set of complications when you're trying to build something with someone. For now, though, let's get into what pride not only can do but usually does do to relationships.
I'll start with this. One day, while laying in bed, I binged watched a few episodes of Divorce Court Before the Vows on YouTube. Something that Judge Lynn Toler said to one of the couples stood out—"You are the biggest problem you've got." If I were to define what pride can do, that's pretty much it in a nutshell. It can cause you to become the biggest problem you have. Shoot, even the Bible co-signs on it: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18—NKJV)
Unfortunately, a lot of us are SO PRIDEFUL that we don't even recognize what it's doing to us and those around us. But if what I'm sharing is tugging at you, even just a little bit, here are some pretty telling signs that your pride is costing you…a lot. Even if you don't see clear evidence of it…yet.
You (Think You) Are Always Right
Don't. Get. Me. Started. It's truly an epidemic, the amount of people who don't want relationships; they want teacher/student dynamics where they are always instructing someone else on what they need to do with their lives.
If I were to raise my hand in any portion of this article, this one would probably be it. I like to research and share. I've been told I've got a pretty good head on my shoulders. But sometimes people don't want to be taught anything; sometimes they just wanna hang and chill (noted). Know what else? Sometimes a perspective, no matter how insightful it might be, is just that. YOUR PERSPECTIVE.
There are a lot of unnecessary fallouts that transpire, both online and off, simply because someone doesn't want to hear other people's opinions unless they correspond with their own. Prideful people are know-it-alls, they tend to cut people off a lot, they don't know how to handle a differing opinion well, and they typically only like those who are a lot like them.
What's really scary about this side of pride is if it's not kept in check, it can turn into full-blown narcissism.
You Refuse to Apologize
I promise you, for the life of me, I can't figure out why it's so hard for some people to apologize; not just when they're wrong but also when it's been brought to their attention that they've hurt someone's feelings. Probably out of all of the ways that my former friend's pride took its toll, it was this one right here.
The best way to describe how this feels is when I read an article about a former Bachelorette's (Kaitlyn Bristowe) response to how an ex of hers was moving following their break-up. She said, "Sometimes you have to take it one 'Are you f—king kidding me?!' at a time." Indeed. There was some stuff my friend was doing that resulted in me using the word "devastated" to them in order to define it. Ask me how many times I got an apology. NOT ONE. NOT ONCE.
By definition, an apology is "a written or spoken expression of one's regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another." Anyone who is willing to do this isn't weak; they are very strong. They are even stronger if they offer up the apology without explanations or justifications while trying not to do the same thing that they're apologizing for, moving forward.
If you are cool with knowing that you messed up, wronged someone, or simply hurt their feelings and not apologizing for it, not only are you prideful, you're basically an unsafe individual to be around.
You Can Never Be Told About Yourself
There is not one person on this planet who is perfect. NOT ONE. This means that all of us have something that we could stand to improve upon. Sometimes, we're not self-aware enough to recognize what those things are; this is where our relationships come in.
Healthy relationships aren't just about spending time with individuals we have something in common with or even being around those who make us feel good about ourselves. Healthy relationships should also consist of accountability too.
The friends I have? We call each other out pretty consistently. It's not hard to receive from them because I know it's done in love; I also know they want to see me win.
Be careful about thinking that a true friend isn't someone who will take you to task when needed. A lot of prideful people have never experienced authentic relationships because they'd rather have fans than actual friends.
You Don’t Know How to Put Others First
This is a facet of pride that is a bit more cryptic than the others because you can actually be a really giving person and still be prideful at the same time. How? One way is if you do something for someone else, but you just have to get the credit by blasting it on your IG. Another is you're willing to go the extra mile in a relationship; that is until it cramps your style or it's even remotely inconvenient. Another example is someone needing you to honor a request, but since you don't see how it will even remotely benefit you, you find a way to deny them.
Prideful people are all for helping others out or making them feel comfortable until it becomes a sacrifice or makes them uncomfortable in the process. That friend of mine I've been referencing? We always got along until I needed something that challenged their ego or resulted in them shining less. Then I could basically kick rocks.
If even what you do for others still has something to do with you, that's another way that pride is doing some damage to your relationships (and your character).
You Tell People That You’re Humble
I know a woman who once said to me, "I'm done apologizing for being beautiful." One, I didn't know that beauty was an actual offense and two, that is one of the most prideful things I've ever heard come out of someone's mouth. Ever.
The only thing that sounds even more ridiculous (to me) is when someone brags about how humble they are. I've got an example of this too. One of my girlfriend's husbands is one of the most non-self-aware individuals on the planet. He's also one of the funniest, so a lot of his ridiculousness slides under the guise of humor.
Anyway, one day, as he and I were discussing how he has the knack for totally pissing off his employers, I said, "I think it might be your pride," to which he replied (with a shocked look on his face), "I am one of the most humble people you know."
At first, I thought he was kidding, but once I got his wife to join us in the convo and she was like, "Honey, absolutely not" and he told us we both didn't know what we were talking about (as he got more and more upset too), I walked away knowing two things. One, humble people don't say they are humble (that is the exact contradiction of humility) and two, prideful people are so full of themselves that they tend to think they are every good attribute there is, even if they are told otherwise.
I'm a quotes girl. Lord knows I am. And if there is a quote on pride that sums this piece up perfectly, it would have to be by the author Andrew Murray— "Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you."
Healthy relationships are a gift from God. Please don't let your imbalanced sense of pride make people feel like dealing with you is hell on earth. It's not worth it. It really isn't.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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