Killing the Pride Monster

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about pride — on several different levels actually. But the one I think bears discussion is the issue of pride and how it stands in the way of the greatness we all have inside of us.

I’m not talking the “I’m proud of myself” kind of pride. I’m talking about the kind of pride that keeps us from asking for help. Or admitting defeat. Or accepting a favor. It’s the kind of pride that can keep us from following the path we know we should follow but are too proud to admit.

And I’m as guilty as the next person. I hate asking for help. And I really hate admitting when I don’t know something. I’d much rather struggle through finding answers and solutions myself than take it from someone who knows better. And I can be kinda stubborn in some areas about it. But, I’ve learned a lot in the last two years.

In the process of losing a significant amount of weight — and baring it all on the Internet — pride does you no good. I mean, a proud person won’t can’t admit that she reached almost 300 pounds before she realized she needed help. And then there’s the gassy talk, the bathroom humor, the shrinking boobs, the tears and the pain.

And the first time you fart (ohmigosh, did she say fart?) in front of your trainer? Not exactly a moment where your pride stays intact.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been through all of those things that I can smell a pride monster a mile away. I can recognize when someone needs help but won’t ask for it. And I can recognize when someone’s letting his or her pride get in the way of accepting a favor — whether it’s a lending hand, a listening ear or, even, a thoughtful gift.

And it makes me sad.

Sometimes we don’t want help but we need it. I don’t think I could have gotten where I am in life without knowing when to swallow my pride and ask for help. And I can tell you with 800 percent certainty that if I didn’t ask for help when I needed it on this journey, I would be sitting on my couch at 271 pounds — or more?! – waiting for my life to start because I was too proud to say “help me.”

What’s more, you see, letting your pride take over doesn’t only hurt you. It hurts the people who want to give to you, the people who enjoy helping. Because giving help where it’s needed and watching someone accept — and bloom from — your assistance provides a greater joy than a lot of other things in life (except ice cream).

“It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.” ~John Ruskin

Killing the pride monster isn’t easy. And it’s one of those things there isn’t really an instruction manual to follow. Sadly — or luckily — it’s something you just have to do. Swallowing your pride once may cause you to choke a little. But the second and third time? It goes down a lot more easily. Sometimes it helps if you add a spoonful of sugar. Or ice cream.

Full disclosure: I still have a long way to go in leaving the pride monster behind. Because, I’ll admit — though it doesn’t happen often — if you trip me up on a spelling question, I’ll probably turn red and be all awkwardly embarrassed. You see? It’s the important things that matter to me. (Note: This does not give you free reign to try and stump me on spelling questions. I can smell a trap a mile away.)

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