Pride can be a positive thing, like taking pride in your family, or being proud of a worthwhile accomplishment, but I am really focused on the negative definition here as it is so devastating to relationships.
Here are just a few of the negative aspects of pride:
- Proud people tend to take all the credit and none of the blame. Not a good combination for teamwork or any healthy relationship.
- Pride has a tendency to repel people vs attract them. It can be one of the greatest hindrances to long-term relationships that we have to deal with.
- Proud people tend not to listen well to others. It is their way or the highway, so they have a hard time accepting wise counsel.
- Proud people can be bigots, racist, self-absorbed, and narcissistic (nothing good in that list).
You can point out to a prideful person that there is no “I” in teamwork, but they will be quick to point out that there is a “me.” LOL. That is actually a partial truth. Teams that are able to gel find the ability to put pride aside and contribute their gifts to the team for the greater good of the project at hand.
If you are dealing with a prideful person, here are a few recommendations:
- Don’t feed the beast. They may want you to stroke their ego and tell them how wonderful they are, but that is probably the last thing they actually need. What they need is someone who will speak the truth to them, but speak it in love. You don’t need to humble them. That is not your job nor is it mine. It is our job to be honest with them, but kind in the way we deliver the message. It does not have to be brutal nor humiliating to them.
- If you are caring enough to confront, I suggest it be done in private. Nobody likes being humiliated. Challenging them in public will cause them to bow up, probably not hear a word you are saying, and possibly cause them to retaliate towards you. There is an old adage that comes to mind: “Praise in public; correct in private.” That is wise counsel.
- Be respectful to them even when you have a great division of opinion. Everyone wants and needs to be heard. Let them know they have been heard and you will be miles ahead on them actually hearing what you are trying to say to them.
There is a proverb that says: “Pride goes before the fall.” That is good for all of us to remember. Let us look in the mirror and ask, “Are we letting pride derail us from the person we should be?” It is best to humble yourself before someone else does it for you, is it not? Shalom!