Just a thought… An Ode Against Pride

O, hear me, Pride, thou most useless of man’s machinations! When I am weary, you push away the pillow from my head, and when I am hungry you make bitter the food of my mouth. Get thee to a nunnery, go!

Thought bubbles to inspire thinking ^^

Ok. So maybe my Shakespearean Bible voice could use a little work and isn’t necessarily the best way to explain how I feel. But really, pride is useless. It brings  pain and prevents growth, and it denies human kindness. When I begin taking pride in my actions I feel myself growing arrogant, believing I have done this all  by myself–是从自己来的. That doesn’t mean I have no confidence or self worth–those are two qualities that can accept and recognize the help of others in your success. Pride, not so much. Pride likes to do things alone. I personally believe that God has helped me achieve anything and everything in my life, and it would be folly to deny His part in it. To some this idea might seem debilitating–that we cannot succeed on our own. For me, I find it freeing. I know I cannot do anything of myself, so I might as well ask for help when I need it. I no longer have to feel like I must live up to an impossible standard, and that’s okay–because it’s normal to need help. Wonderful, spectacular things are still possible for me in my life, but I don’t have to feel as stressed about it. It’s no longer all on me.

I recently started watching a Korean Drama called Marriage Contract, and I have seen–even only three episodes in–the countless lessons on pride therein. Ji-hoon, the leading man who lives so surrounded by his own pride he cannot see the hearts and intentions of others; Hye-soo, whose heart cannot deny its love of pride of routinely abandons in in favor of her daughter’s welfare (which is totally daebak, I wish I was as good as her at resisting pride); and Ji-hoon’s mother. She, Oh Mi-ran, surprised me as my favorite character in the first and second episodes. To be sure, she’s not a very likable person (she appears clingy and needy and whatever), but I found myself drawn to her. And then I realized why: she had, in the past, done wrong to her son–and in her pride repented of it. But pride doesn’t allow for reparations to be made, only for shame and guilt to torment a soul. And so she could not move on and rebuild her relationship with her son. Her failing health shakes her world, however, and she begins to abandon pride as she sees what is truly valuable in life. To know you are not well thought of but to abandon appearances anyway and express your true feelings–that takes courage. Whether or not you then pursue those feelings or desires depends on the rightness of that desire–but to confront it takes courage.

When describing someone without pride, we often term them ‘shameless’. ‘Oh, she’s so shameless.’ ‘Have you no shame?’ ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself.’ But what fault is there in having no shame? Why should abandoning our shame make us feel any less than free?

Well, perhaps I misspoke there. Lest there be any confusion about it, guilt and shame have two different meanings for me. Guilt and pain over a wrong action are good–they are, as one general authority in the LDS church put it, the ‘feeling of guilt is to the spirit what pain is to the physical body’. It lets the individual know something bad has happened, that something is broken and needs to be fixed. But shame can continue long after the wrong has been righted, the misdeed set straight and the damage repaired. In essence, shame is guilt that you continue to carry with you long after the time you ought to have let it go.

In truth, letting go of pride and lingering shame open our eyes to see the truth of human existence: we all stumble and fall–so we cannot judge. Beware, however, lest this appear to indicate an “anything goes” mentality. We cannot judge others in their faults, to be sure–but that does not make the faults themselves right. I can no more make theft or dishonesty a righteous act than I can breathe in outer space without a space suit–but I can choose to look upon the robber or liar with eyes of hope and belief in their ability to–like me–overcome their wrongs, to abandon the and grow.

Thanks for Reading, let me know what you think of Pride!




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