Pride: Its Impact and How to Overcome It

Pride can take two forms. When pride is positive, it is showing joy over the behavior, a relationship, or deed of you or someone else. When pride is negative, it is showing a steadfast allegiance to one’s views, opinions, and beliefs even when such things are incorrect. Pride in the negative form can be detrimental to a relationship.

Why is pride harmful?

  1. Pride gives you the belief that you are right and the other person is wrong, and you remain stubbornly in that position. Sure, you may be right, but there is a chance you are not in which case holding tightly to your position inhibits you from listening and hearing the other person and seeing their point of view. When you are unwilling to listen to the other person, you are sending the message that their feelings and thoughts are irrelevant and yours is the most important.
  2. Pride keeps you from admitting to yourself and others when you are wrong. If you are unwilling to accept defeat or if you are unwilling to apologize to the other person, you are only making yourself look bad. By refusing to apologize when wrong especially in situations where hurtful things were said you deter the other person from forgiving you, which can generate resentment that will have a negative impact on your relationship.
  3. Pride can deter you from asking for help from others. By not asking for assistance when it is needed you can become overburdened and the result may be the task is completed poorly.
  4. Pride can cause you to become defensive when your view is challenged and can cause you to find fault with the other person. Pride can also influence you to become spiteful, where you do not do and say what is right just to prove a point. Pride can bring out the worst in us.

How to overcome pride?

The opposite of pride is humility, but becoming more humble is easier said than done. Pride is tied up in our vision of ourselves. If we admit defeat, we are in a sense conceding to failure, which can bring about shame in ourselves. Pride is a method of defense that we elicit to bring out a superior sense of self.

One of the first steps to overcoming pride is recognizing that you are human and will make mistakes, it is impossible for a human to be right all the time. Reminding ourselves of our humanity seems obvious; however, I have found most people, myself included, often forget it. In addition to remembering this notion, it is also beneficial when you are feeling prideful to ask yourself why you are feeling this way. By asking this of yourself, you become more mindful of your feelings and behavior, which can make it easier to address.

I have discovered that sometimes I could have avoided hanging my head in defeat if I had just closed my mouth and opened my ears. Therefore, another step to overcoming pride, rather than discounting what the other person is saying outright, take the time to sit and listen to them while they speak. The other person believes he/she is right just as much as you, hearing their point of view not only sends the message that you care about their position but it also aides in determining the correct answer.

Finally, admitting to a mistake can be a humbling experience. You become accountable for yourself and your actions. Apologizing even if you did not say or do something wrong intentionally can speak volumes to your significant other and helps them to move on and let go.

Pride can be destructive. Recognizing your prideful behavior early on in your relationship and taking a proactive approach to overcoming it will have a positive impact on not just you and your partner’s bond but your growth as a person.