My Life with God

Proof of Pride

photo-1560270579-d515a443eb3bI touched on pride in yesterday’s post but want to dig a bit deeper today. We need to be aware of what pride can look like. Of course, it’s easier to see in others than in ourselves, but let’s be open to seeing it anywhere it exists.

When we see roots of pride in ourselves, we can do something about it. It’s not easy, but the better we understand the consequences of pride, the more motivated we are to guard against it. The more willing we are to see it in ourselves, the more likely we are to see it in others, not as much as an accusation but as a caution to ourselves and, when the relationship allows, an accountability with others.

If we’re honest about pride, it rarely manifests as an “I’m the best” claim. It’s much more subtle. Pride will often take credit when things go well and place blame when they don’t. Again, it’s not always a bold claim. Taking credit can be more subtle, such as, someone sharing the same stories over and over, reliving their own highlights (whether or not the people they’re telling value the same things). Pride often attempts to recenter on one’s own expertise or experiences. Conversations often get built around or redirected to what the person has been reading or something that’s been happening. Pride can also create some awkward transitions, as the proud person can seem to be engaged but go down their own trail of thought; when they pop back into the conversation a little while later, the conversation has continued to another place, and the person who has become with his or her own thoughts is confusing.

Of course, some of these dynamics happen in everyday interactions, but when there are patterns over time, pay attention.

It might seem odd, but as much as the proud person wants affirmation, he or she will deflect—and often strongly—to avoid confrontation or what they will claim is judgment. They want little to do with blame. Taking responsibility isn’t a strength. Neither is offering a sincere apology, although they’re sometimes willing to say I’m sorry when it will get them out of an uncomfortable situation.

Pride can manifest in many ways. I’ve offered a few. It can be tricky to identify pride, because it can easily be excused as something else.

  • I’m just trying to help, since I’ve had some experience with this.
  • That might be what you think, but don’t blame me for thinking differently.
  • I’d apologize if I’d actually done something wrong, but I think it’s more of an issue of you getting over it.

These are all things we might say given the appropriate situation. It’s not the words that reveal pride; it’s the pattern of attitude. It’s the combination of a presence of pride and lack of humility. We need to know what both look like in order to (as accurately as possible) evaluate what’s happening—in ourselves and others.

Let’s pay attention today.

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