“Don’t let your pride get in the way of your relationships.”
We’ve all felt the comfort of pride. It comes after someone has hurt us, or wronged us. It comes after we’ve achieved something monumental, or done something against perceived odds. Pride can make us feel good, it can protect us from harm (or so we think), but despite what it can feel like, it can have a negative impact. While pride can manifest itself in many ways, today I will be focusing on one type of pride: the kind that holds you back from connecting, or re-connecting with the people in your life after a conflict.
Sometimes others can hurt us, and as much as we may not want to admit it, our pride can be used as a tool to hurt them back in a passive way. We look at the hurt and think to ourselves: “I’m better than talking to you.” And we cut off contact. Or perhaps we’ve recognized to ourselves that we wronged/hurt someone in some way, but we are too proud to apologize for it fearing that it will somehow make us look weak, or that the person could embarrass us.
While there are some circumstances where it is better to “love and let go”, there are many more instances where pride can and should be overcome for the greater good. Two friends can become distant strangers after a fight, and their pride can easily be one of the culprits that keeps them from coming back and moving forward together.
In a conflict, there are almost always 2 parties involved, and both have some stake in causing or perpetuating (or simply not resolving) the conflict. Its easy to let our pride comfort us and say that none of it was our fault. And it can be very difficult (whether or not we have any part to blame) to swallow our pride and be the first person to re-initiate the relationship. But unless one part steps forward and realizes that their pride is not worth letting the relationship dissolve, then the relationship risks further deterioration.
Imagine if after a big fight with someone you care about you could be the person to step forward and re-initiate contact with that person. Imagine if that person is waiting for the door to open up before they too can get over their pride. Imagine two parties who desperately want to reconnect, but choose not to because they are too proud. Our connections with those we care about are what make life worth living. The journey of life is much more bland when we have no sidekicks or partners or companions or friends to share it with. And for all of its benefits, pride can have a catastrophic effect on a relationship. It may protect us from the outside, but it also keeps us trapped.
As morbid as it may sound, people often realize the high cost of pride when it is too late. We think our lives are infinite when they are really not. We think that an opportunity will present itself, but our opportunities are limited only to our control. If we do not act, then very little will happen. If you’re too proud to reconnect with someone you care for, take action: don’t let that pride turn into the regret of having wished you’d made an effort. Open the relationship doors that you’ve welded shut and step through them. At the end of the day, it’s up to the other person to choose to step through as well. But by leaving the door open, by stepping through, by being the first to extend that olive branch, you can be sure that if the relationship can be saved, then it will be…and if not because the other person will not meet you in the middle, then perhaps it truly is time to let go.
Pride is intangible, a single selfish shade of violet. People, and our relationships on the other hand, give life a million vibrant colours. Which would you pick?
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