Mindfulness

Is Your Pride Holding You Back?

Recently I have been thinking about how pride can be a tricky and sly personality trait. Often we can hear words like ‘take pride in your work’ or ‘take pride in your achievements’. Whilst these common phrases are meant in an encouraging and unharmful manner, we should also be aware that too much pride can hold us back from achieving and experiencing more.

We experience and/or accumulate pride through our past experiences and something we’re particularly happy or pleased about. This may immediately create a bias within us that whatever we’re proud about is good and positive and should therefore be something harmless and to trust in. Using work as an example, perhaps we take great pride in a work output that we worked hard at and over time come to view our approach as a success. Maybe we start thinking that as others heap praise on our work it is a gold star mark of what that particular output ought to be. So we keep repeating this approach. Then in comes a new person who suddenly can do the work faster and just as well, but with a different approach. Maybe out of a mix of hurt pride and jealousy we pick holes as to why their approach is incorrect or not the done thing. Instead of actively learning from the person, we don’t move forward but continue down our same path because it served us faithfully before. Instead of letting go of pride and admitting another approach is better, we can suddenly enter a scenario where pride actively holds us back from developing.

Another example is communication and collaboration with others. Perhaps we hold a strong viewpoint about the way things should or ought to be. When our viewpoint is challenged, our pride may be hurt and we therefore reject the alternate viewpoint. Maybe we continue pushing our viewpoint on others and like a square peg with a round hole, it just doesn’t fit. But we persist with the same viewpoint rather than being open. We hold some form of pride in what we believe and therefore if it is challenged, this is an immediate threat that should be denied at all costs. Even if all other signs show that our viewpoint does not fit with a scenario, perhaps we believe the scenario to be wrong rather than our viewpoint.

Sometimes, our pride can get in the way. Not always, but where we are unable to let it go or mix it up as a key indicator of something being good or right, then we can fall prey to it. Pride should be viewed as a neutral party to right and wrong, good and bad.

Being aware of what we have pride in can be a useful first step to ensuring that we do not become enslaved by it. We should enjoy our accomplishments and we all have a right to our viewpoints. But when we’re looking to move forward, we need fluidity. Learn from the symbologies of water. No matter what form water is set in, it can flow across the form. Water can be gentle and relaxing like a warm bath, yet it can erode the toughest of rocks and stones.

We must make sure that we don’t let our minds become rigid or owned by pride, rather than to remain fluid and inquisitive to make the most out of what life throws at us.

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