Written by: Gurpreet Kaur, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Let’s start with this question. Why is it even important to assess if our pride level is healthy or not? Let’s find out. The research indicates that there are two types of pride: of course, healthy and unhealthy. We will go through the examples in a bit so hang tight. Let’s first talk about how pride can actually hurt you and keep you away from your goal of living each day to the fullest. I know it is a sensitive topic, and I will do my best to be as gentle as I can when pointing out “unhealthy pride” that can get in the way of your emotional freedom. And I also know that a lot of us wear pride like a badge of honor, but would you really have that badge or peace of mind? That really is the purpose of this episode. I want you to be really honest with yourself as we go through the examples so you can decide what is really serving you or not.
So, what is pride? By definition, it is a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or someone closely related or associated. It’s to be proud. As I mentioned earlier, there is healthy and unhealthy pride. As you can imagine, healthy pride is grounded in being proud of your achievements and successes but yet with humility. And humility is being free of pride or arrogance. Unhealthy pride is what research mentions as hubristic or excessively proud or confident. The unhealthy pride is based on low self-worth and is shame-driven. And that’s when you would be critical or judge others to feel better about yourself.
Now, most of the time, we think of arrogant or haughty people when we think of being prideful. Not so easily, my friend. Pride gets us all, and it can really ruin your positive state of mind, especially when you are trying to be easy, loving, and non-judgmental towards yourself. First, I will share my own example here to make the point, and then we will review the subtle ways pride is keeping you away from being the authentically confident person with high true Self-worth.
Most of the time, I consider myself a humble person, especially because I am aware of the dangers of being prideful at the back of my head. So, I would consciously be mindful not to sound arrogant or obviously prideful. But it still was present in my behaviors so subtly. I consider myself a very quality-oriented person. I do things with depth, and you can expect high-quality work from me, whether I am counseling, writing a blog, or cleaning the bathroom. I still can feel pride in this quality and unconsciously hurt people or drive them away. For example, cleaning the bathroom. My husband can clean the whole house in 2 hours, and I can easily spend more than 2 hours just in a bathroom. Sure, enough I do a really thorough job, and I am proud of that because I don’t have to do it often because it lasts longer. A thorough, excellent job done lasts a little longer than just an okay well-done job. Right? First of all, I now realize that it should not take 2 hours to clean a bathroom. But more than that, I was hurting my husband’s feelings each time I would throw that “excellent job done” in his face.
Actually, the true realization was when I realized that I am not any less of a person if I didn’t do an excellent job. That felt freeing. I could just do an acceptable amount of work for the bathroom to be cleaned. It doesn’t have to be sparklingly clean. All this was coming from my perfectionist tendencies. Yup, our good old friend perfectionism. It is good to be proud of who you are and what you become, but it is not good to base your self-worth on what you have achieved. That type of pride can ruin relationships. It hurt my husband to hear that he would not do as thorough of a job as I can. He is just simply not built that way. He is not less of a person if he doesn’t have the eye for that quality. And I am not more of a person if I can. This pride has shown her ugly face in other areas of my life where I felt pride in “doing everything on my own and not asking for help.” I drove myself crazy because I felt I only could do that job that way. Who can relate?
So, your pride is not doing you any favor, my friend. It is not healthy for your emotional well-being. You will have to learn to let go of your pride if you want to sustain a healthy and happy mind.
Here are some subtle signs of pride ruining your life:
Being too proud to ask for help. Being independent is different than feeling hurt and not asking for help. Or, yet worse, letting your loved ones or kids suffer because you don’t want to ask for help.
Disregarding the advice. If you consistently disregard others’ advice, that might be a sign that you are prideful. Your behavior shows that you are uncomfortable living or adapting to the information you are receiving. That can be dangerous for your mental health.
Being critical. If you are being too critical of others or judging them so you can feel better about yourself, that means pride is present. Now all this could be unconscious, but it still is impacting your emotional health. In reality, what you are judging others with is really your own judgments of yourself. So, pay attention to that.
Need attention. If you constantly need others' attention or need others’ affirmation, you don’t have a good base for true self-worth. If you need others’ paise or attention for all that you are doing, that means you are not really content and satisfied with who you are.
Not teachable. By this, I mean when you assume you already know something when someone is teaching you. I feel this type of attitude is present in people when they are afraid of being vulnerable. They don’t want to admit that they are wrong because that is going to highlight their limitations, and they are already not comfortable with what they already know. When this happens, try to be open-minded about it.
Can’t receive constructive criticism. We all can struggle with receiving constructive feedback or criticism, but individuals with high pride can be extra sensitive because their sense of worth is based on pride. Similar to the last point, when someone struggles with receiving feedback, they don’t want to face the unknown. When you struggle with other people providing you helpful feedback about your life, you immediately shut them down by saying, “you are not in my shoe.” Or “I already know this, but I can’t do it because of _____.” Fill in the blank. Just becoming aware of this can be very helpful to notice low self-esteem.
Obsessing over physical appearance. If you are constantly obsessed with your physical look or, in general, what others think of you, pride is there in the form of you obsessing over yourself. The point here is that you are still thinking about yourself because you feel you are not enough just the way you are.
Blocking communication. If you blow people off and do not respond to them, you are in your head minimize the importance of this person, thinking you can’t waste your precious time on this person or conversation. Yes, in today’s world, we all are busy, and time is a real commodity, but you have to be really honest with yourself here about the reason you were not responding. If you dig deeper and be honest, you might find fears you are not ready to face. Instead, work on overthinking, self-criticism, and negative self-talk to overcome repressed emotions.
There you have it! Some subtle ways how pride is keeping you unhappy. And it is grounded in perfectionism. I am guilty of it. Recently, I had to let go of a lot of the things I used to be very proud of that did not serve me well to be happy in life. I don’t need to be the quality controller if it’s not helping me be happy or move towards it, at least. It is doable to let go of these things with being a little open-minded towards the process. I had no idea pride was hurting me instead of helping me. Not accepting help from others. Thinking you can do it all. Feeling you don’t want anybody to pity you. All that is not serving you well. It really isn’t.
Here’s the thing, you are only one of you, and you happen to be a human. Humans have emotional, physical, and social needs. So, you too have those needs. However, you would like to think that you are a superwoman, but you really are not because you are struggling. You can be! Absolutely! But for that to happen, you have to take care of yourself. You can’t be waking up at 5 am and going to bed at 11 pm and working every minute in between. You have to learn to call out sometimes. It might feel counterintuitive to you but trust me on this. You feel irritated, frustrated, and overwhelmed when you are burning your candle on both ends. It’s not sustainable. Feeling irritable, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, and not happy despite all that you do are the signs that you need to let go of your pride and change some things in your life.
Now, before I let you go, I want to give you the antidote to pride. And it is Humility. Being humble is the antidote to being prideful. By that, I mean, don’t measure your self-worth with your achievements. Don’t compare yourself with others for good or bad. Don’t judge or criticize someone else to make you feel better. Catch yourself when you are doing it and make every effort to stop it right there. You can also practice Attitude of Gratitude, and it is very helpful. You are a beautiful human being just the way you are. No achievements are needed for you to be humble. You are loved no matter what. Be proud of that, not just the achievements. Fill up that void with true self-love, not just the achievements that you end up fearing being taken away.
Gurpreet Kaur, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Dr. Gurpreet Kaur is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, Speaker, and an Author. Dr. Kaur is very passionate about self-love, self-empowerment, wellness, reaching the full potential, and applying quantum mechanics principles to daily life. Dr. Kaur teaches a step-by-step self-care process to live a mentally and emotionally healthy life.