April 20, 2010: Misplaced Pride

When it comes to nature and human beings, some say it’s all about the “survival of the fittest”; when you think about it -that is a very bleak way to look at life. Why can’t it be about the survival of the nicest, the kindest, the friendliest or the most open-minded? Who cares whether or not the strong survive? If strength were all there is to life, life would not be very much worth living.

The other day, I was looking at an episode of the syndicated television series, 7th Heaven. A high school senior approached school each day with the utmost superior attitude and she often looked down on others and treated them as though they were beneath her. Meanwhile, her family at home was very poor and didn’t have any money – not even enough for her to purchase lunch each day from the school cafeteria. Both of her parents were illiterate and unemployed. Throughout her weekly social rendezvous, she would find ridiculous and “snobbish” reasons to take home any leftover foods from restaurants her friends could afford. She would give the leftovers to her family to eat.

By the end of the storyline, a dear friend of hers unraveled the disturbing truth and brought it to light that she should have indeed asked for help. Instead, she remained shameful with pride while hurting on the inside, and allowed her fear of being judged and ridiculed by others to get in the way of getting the assistance her family so desperately needed. Though my own story differs from that of this girl, I am so intensely reminded of how many, many years ago, I myself, had to set aside my pride in an effort to getting the aid I needed as a single parent and for my children. My famous and most perpetual words then were, “I don’t need anything – from anyone”. Oh, how ignorant and imprudent of me!

Truthfully, this is the present society we have come to know. Society has made it shameful for people to ask for help. We try to dodge rejection from others at all cost, while attempting to live up to their standards or “status quo”. What’s the moral of the story you ask? Pride is a sin; the bible even advises us of such. Handling pride in moderation when you have worked very hard to achieve something is necessary at times in an effort to assist you in your goals moving forward. On the other hand, when pride is employed in a negative light, it stunts our growth and keeps us in the dark.

Judgmental people, I don’t very much care for; Status people, well I don’t very much like them either. Funny, the two always seem to go hand-in-hand. Though monetary luxuries may provide us with the things we want, divine necessities (common sense, compassion for your fellow neighbor, inner peace and true happiness) provide us with the things we need. At some point, we have to recognize that we can’t possibly be strong all the time. It is not enough to be strong to survive anyway; we must be wise in our decisions, humble, authentic, compassionate, honest and genuinely happy. Better to accept a weakness courageously than to pretend to be superhuman out of a sense of misplaced pride.

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