I have a pride problem.
I always need to be right. I always need to have the last word. Or, at least, I used to.
This past year, if anything, has been a lesson on humility. On accepting my own faults while still loving who I am. On being okay with the fact that people aren’t going to like me; they may even *gasp* talk about me behind my back, but there’s not really much I can do to change their minds. I’ve experienced the stigma of living with a mental illness, and it sucks. Let me repeat that: it SUCKS. There’s not much worse than being judged for something that you have no control over. I’ve lost friends, been looked down upon, and basically told to shut up.
To a proud person, this is pretty much the bottom of the barrel. All I’ve wanted to do is keep raising my voice, louder and louder, saying that what they say and what they think don’t affect me – even though it obviously does. And when that doesn’t work? I’ll just stoop down to their level and talk nasty about them behind their backs too.
But that doesn’t fix anything. My pride may be taking a hit, but my soul feels like it’s finally finding calm. By not having to engage, to yell back, I find a peace. There’s a sense of humility there, knowing that what they think is true for them. They believe what they say, and that can be hard. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be true for me.
There are two sides to every story, and sometimes those two sides conflict in ways that make it hard to communicate with one another. The problem is when you let pride get in your way. When you just have to defend yourself. And when that doesn’t work? You put them down. You call them names and berate them to the point where an argument is both inevitable and pointless.
Someone cuts you off on the freeway. A friend posts a differing opinion on Facebook. You get called out at work for making a mistake.
The thing is – these things aren’t about you. I’m in the middle of reading the Four Agreements right now, and the second agreement is to take nothing personally. Easier said than done, of course, but once you implement it into your life? There’s a transformation.
I still have a pride problem. It’s still hard not to get the last word in, but then I start letting things go. I start giving myself a little grace. I start remembering that people are people, and I can’t control what they do. Slowly, little by little, my pride is being replaced by a sense of humility. By a sense of thanks for all that I’ve been through. By a knowledge that what others say or think of me doesn’t define who I am as a person. The way I respond, think, feel. These are the things that are important.