How Pride Impacts Our Relationships

 

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.“I think you are angry.”

“Nope.”  I spat out.

We were in our first year of marriage and driving north to visit friends.

“Well you sure seem angry.”

“I’m not,” I said staring at the red light we were waiting on.

Just breathe, I reminded myself. Stay calm.

“There is nothing wrong with admitting you are angry,” he said, a few minutes of silence later. “Anger is just an emotion. It doesn’t make you a bad person.”

I listened a little more intently. I had never heard that before.

“So, what if you are angry. Big deal. It would be better to admit you are angry and discuss it, than try and stuff it down and pretend you are not angry.”

“Maybe.”

He sighed. “Why is it so had for you to admit anything? To admit you are not perfect? To admit you are wrong?”

Ouch. I didn’t want to answer that question out loud.

We stopped for another light. He looked at me. I looked at him, trying to smile, but it felt so fake.

“Okay,” I spit out. “I am angry. I am angry at you. I am angry about this morning. I am angry.”

“Well,” he laughed. “Now don’t you feel better?”

Tears sprang to my eyes. Not with him laughing at me. No, I now felt like a failure.

He took my hand. “Do you know what? I love you when you are stubborn and don’t apologize, and I love you when you do. But it is so much easier to love you when you admit you are human and admit your faults. When you admit you are angry, when you really are angry. Just be honest. With yourself and me.”

 

How pride in a relationship affects  the relationships negatively, and why. 

 

Some conversations are tuning points.

Some conversations make us think and then come to new truth.

Some conversations we will remember in the future at just the right time.

This was one of those conversations.

I had always thought of myself as an apologizer. I don’t know how many times I had been told by my mother growing up, “Tell your sister you are sorry. Apologize to your brother.” And I had. I had always said the words, even if I had not always meant them.

But I had also been the perfect child in our family of six kids. The one where mom would say, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” and point to me.  Because I worked so had to do the right thing, I ended up apologizing a lot less than my always-in-trouble older brother and independent-and who-cares younger sister.

Yes, I grew up thinking I was related to Mary Poppins. “Practically perfect in every way.”

And when I grew older and time had passed, I realized that my mom was very prideful. I don’t ever remember her apologizing. And I had adopted more of her attitude than was good for me.

As I thought over the next months, and even years, about why it was so hard for me to apologize, to admit I was wrong, I came back to the same thing. My pride was tripping me up. Causing me to stumble and keeping me from confessing.

Pride of wanting to be right.

Pride of wanting to defend my actions. (After all, my reasons were so good.)

Pride of wanting to appear almost perfect.

Pride of what others would think.

Pride of exposing the truth to myself and others.

Pride of appearing weak.

Pride of admitting fault.

My pride was a stumbling block and affected my relationships. Because one thing pride likes to do, is lie. Pride lies all sorts of convincing lies. Lies that keep us from the truth. From perusing love. From abundant grace.  From growth and change. From deeper relationships. Pride is supposed to keep us from pain, but it doesn’t. Pride weaves elaborate lies that we tend to believe. Lies that in the end extract harsher consequences because of the tangle of deceit we create.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.Some lies of pride we believe that hinder our relationships:

 

Others wont’s like/love us if they knew the truth.

Hide. Never tell. It is safer.

Forgiveness is never free. We must work to earn our forgiveness.

Confessing makes us indebted to the person.

Asking forgiveness is admitting guilt and a sign of weakness.

Come on. Technically we are not guilty. Look for a loophole.

Don’t admit guilt unless we are 100% wrong. 96% or even 5% does not count.

We may not be forgiven, so why bother.

The other person screwed up too. Let them confess first.

Forgiveness is over rated.

Confessing may ruin us.

These lies have no truth in them. Satan wants us to believe these lies because then we will walk in fear, and not in the light of forgiveness. Because then we will walk in the same old rut, and not newness and change. Because it will cut us off from community and help. Because when we are consumed with guilt and shame our eyes remain focused on our self, not on a God who redeems us, loves us, and pours abundant grace on our souls.

Pride is one of the main culprits that hinders our relationships with others. It is our pride that causes us to defend our actions. Justify and explain why we are in the right and turn and blame them for their wrong doing. Pride separates us from others. It causes us to lie to them and our self. It keeps us from doing the right thing in the relationship. It stops us from pursuing reconciliation, compromise, and forgiveness. Pride holds onto our pain and then we in turn lash out in pain.

Often, we know we are wrong, but it is our pride that keeps us from doing the right thing.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.How to deal with pride in a relationship; tips for chipping away the stumbling block of pride:

 

1. Strive for humility. Humility is seeing our self and God as we both really are. He is the only perfect one. We are the sinful one. And yet God want to have a relationship with us. He wants to parent us. Love us. Give us all sorts of good gifts. Call us beloved. When we realize that we are dependent on God and his forgiveness and grace (which he freely gives), that creates in us a desire to change and grow.

2. Take responsibility. It is so much easier than explaining why we didn’t really do something everyone knows we really did. Making excuses that make no sense, or trying to argue that it was really was someone else’s fault is just plain nonsense. Stop stepping away and instead take responsibility. People will be relieved, and our trust ratings will soar.

3. Just do it. Practice apologizing; it will become easier. Start with little things. Move to bigger things. Or do it the other way. Once you have confessed a big thing, other confessions may seem easier.

I remember the day I confessed to a big thing (Yes, I said the words out loud that I was not perfect!) My heart was racing, my palms sweaty. All the spit in my mouth had turned to dust bunnies. I knew my voice would crack. I knew my world would fall apart. But I did it. I squeaked out the words. And guess what? I survived. The world did not collapse. My heart kept beating. And of course, no one died of surprise. They already knew it. And still loved me.

I kept confessing. And it got easier.

The same will happen for us if we keep apologizing when we need to. The silly thing is, when we confess our wrong doing, we are usually not surprising anyone. Often everyone sees we need to confess before we realize it. If we have yelled at the family, they all know we yelled at them. There is no surprise when we say we should not have yelled at them and ask their forgiveness. Often there is just gratitude from them that we took responsibility for our actions, and now they can stop telling us we were wrong.

4. Keep it Simple. Forget the perfect words. Just say: “I am sorry for  – – – -, please forgive me.”

Remember, if we justify or make excuses, then we are no longer apologizing. “I am sorry I hurt your feelings, but you need to be nicer to me,” does not qualify. When we add a “but,” we are often justifying and blaming them. Saying, “I am sorry you feel that way,” is also not an apology. It is really telling them that their feelings are wrong.

After we say we are sorry, we can also offer some sort of restitution or help, if appropriate. “I know I didn’t mow the lawn like I said I would. Can I now clean the bathroom for you?”

 

Remembering what’s important.

 

I can’t say that I don’t still let my pride get the best of me. I do. But my husband was right. We are easier to love when we acknowledge we are human. When we admit our mistakes. 

It has taken me a long time, but I have learned that despite my aversions to it, confession is good for my soul. It helps restore relationships, keeps pride in check, stop the blaming and justifying of my actions, and passes grace and forgiveness out to others and myself.

So, go ahead.

Confess when necessary.

Apologize quickly.

Abundant grace awaits.

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: What lies of pride do you believe?

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Pride can negatively affect relationships. Learn 4 ways to slay pride and the fears that drive it.

 

When Words Fail

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Sometimes words fail us.

I am telling hubby goodbye. Sitting in the car, I roll down the window and look at him standing in the driveway.

He rests his hand on the edge of the window as I squint up at him.

I am leaving for a week. Heading south.

On the kitchen counter lies the itinerary. The calendar. The notes and to-do’s.

He has prayed for safe travels. We have small talked. Nothing to do but say goodbye and drive, yet I linger.

I look up at him and my eyes tear.  Thoughts race across my brain. What if I die while traveling? Would he know how much I love him?

Suddenly I want to tell him how much I love him. How much he means to me. That I don’t regret walking beside him. Having his children. The life we have lived.

That I am sorry for all the times I have gotten mad at him. Not laughed at his jokes. Not smiled back. Doubted him. Not respected him. Argued with him. Held grudges.

We have been through so much together. Vacations. Births. Deaths. Moving. Accidents. Job changes. School. Trials. Sickness. Home projects. Celebrations. Little and much. This and that.

This man I have hiked the continental divide with. Watched die. Sheet rocked and painted with. Gardened with. Hugged and cuddled. Dated. Whale watched and snorkeled with. Traveled with. This man loves me, faults and all, and desires the best for me. He encourages me to be a better person. Challenges me to be more.

This man I eat, sleep, and do life with. How do I tell him I love him? How do I let him know what is running through my heart and mind as I look at him before I leave?

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.Words are complicated and fail us.

 

We have one word that means love. And we use it both casually and seriously. I love tea. I love my child. Both are conveying a fondness, but one is a deeper fondness than the other. Yet now as I look at him, words fail me. Fail to convey my thoughts and emotions.

I guess this is why we have poetry. Metaphors. Songs. They try and communicate love into some picture or words we can connect with. Understand. They try and explain the mixed-up emotions and hard to describe feelings we get swamped upon.

And yet on some level they too fail.

Think about the love, the strong emotions you have for your mate, parents, children, friends, pets, country, places, even physical things. Can you really communicate your love for them in words?

Every year my dad would come and spend several weeks with us, and when it came time to leave, I remember having the same feeling. Wanting to tell him how much he meant. Wanting to tell him how much I loved and appreciated him. And yet, I could not. My thoughts just did not translate into words. And so, we hugged extra hard and extra long and then said we love you to each other. He drove away with tears in his eyes and I stood waving with tears in my eyes.

Because words sometimes fail us.

The same is true with God. The bible explains his love for us. Shows his love for us. And even uses words and examples to convey his love for us (like him longing to gather us under his wings as a mother hen gathers her chicks; a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to go off to search for the one lost sheep; a father running to meet his prodigal son), but in the end the words fall short and fail to really convey the deep, abiding, unconditional, and overflowing love he has for us.

We like to say that God loved us so much he sent his only son to die for us. But even that picture of love fails. How can we even comprehend it. What it really means. How much love that action really communicates. We can understand a little, but not fully.

Because words sometimes fail to express all of what one is meaning to say.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

When words fail to express our feelings and emotions.

 

We hadn’t been married for that long when one day on a long drive, hubby said, “I love you enough to die for you.”

What does he mean? I wondered.

No one had told me this before. The words were scary. The concept scary. I wanted him alive, not dead. And then the big question back.  Did I love him enough to die for him? I wasn’t sure I would when the pinch was tightened to reality.

“I hope it never comes to that,” I said.

“Do you understand what I am saying?” he asked.

“No.”

“That if it came down to it I would give up my life, so you could live. I would let you out of the burning house or the sinking ship first. I would sacrifice myself for you.”

I was beginning to feel guilt. I didn’t deserve that. Why couldn’t we both live?

It took years, but I eventually began to understand what he was trying to say. He was trying to tell me how much he loved me. How devoted he was. That in a pinch he would see to me over himself.

Greater love has no man then he lay down his life for another.

His words were failing him and so he used this picture from the bible.

When we have big feelings, emotions, and thoughts, words often fail us.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

Sometimes we need more than words.

 

We rest in the driveway a few long moments. Just looking at one another.

“You better get going,” he says. “You have a long drive.”

I nod.

This deep desire to tell hubby what he means overwhelms me. And so, I say the only thing that comes to mind. “I love you,” I say, and hope he reads my heart.

“I love you too.”

My eyes tear a little.

And I know he understands.

Because his eyes tear a little too.

In the end, maybe we both know a little of what we are each thinking. Even without words.  Because when you love someone, sometimes you can communicate in other ways.

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: When do words fail you?

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Words can only communicate so much, and then they fail us.

Failing with Grace

 

It seems opposites attract. Which includes my husband and me.

He wants to arrive early. I like to arrive just on time.

Can you see a problem?

He will announce, “Time to go,” or ask, “are you ready to go?” half an hour before we need to be walking out the door. Even before he is ready.

Me. I like to get dressed and ready right before it is time to leave the house. No need to stop what I am doing and get ready and then sit around for 15 minutes waiting to leave.

I think you can see we approach getting ready to leave the house a little differently. He may be ready 15 minutes early and waiting, while I am choosing out my clothes 15 minutes before it is time to leave, putting my shoes on as it is time to walk out the door.

And because of our differences and the way we approach getting ready, you can imagine that I don’t like to be hurried and rushed, and he hates waiting.

Is anyone relating to this? Laughing at one of us or both of us? Laughing at themselves or someone else?

You can imagine that this has caused us both frustration. Words of frustration. Looks of frustration. And even to be late sometimes.

It has also caused us to be more patient and love one another in all things. As well as move towards compromise.

Over time he has waited longer to get ready and I have made more of an effort to be ready on time.

Sometimes I am even ready early. Which causes the angles and hubby to sing.

 

It is so easy to fail, or feel like we failed.

 

Last Sunday I was rushing to get ready, while hubby was sitting in the car, waiting ten minutes. According to my clock I emerged from the house exactly on time. According to his clock, I was ten minutes late. According to the church clock, we were 12 minutes before the start of service.

Well unfortunately, words were said. A comment by him as I arrived to the car, and a retort by me. Frustrations aired. Then silence.

I think you can relate.

We get frustrated at our self. At others.

And then we make unhealthy choices for the relationship. We say things we don’t really mean. Think negative things of them and our self. Blame gets distributed like a bad penny, and pride becomes a stumbling block.

What to do when you feel like a failure. 

 

So, what can we do when we get frustrated at our self or at others? When we fail yet again? When we mess up in life? Sin?

Here are a few things we can do:

1. Keep the relationship front and center.  The relationship is more important than winning or proving you are right. Focus on stating your feelings and point of view without attacking the other person. The person is not the problem, their behavior is. (Wanting to be early does not make someone a bad person, so don’t attack them in a way that makes them think they are bad for wanting to be early.)

2. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. It is easier to listen to the other person’s complaints when we try to understand why our behavior irritates them. When we look at the problem from their point of view. Compassion and empathy create understanding and dissipate anger. (I know I don’t like to wait, so I can understand why you are frustrated.)

3. Start with a compliment, then address the problem. People are more willing to listen when you notice the good before moving to the bad. (I like how you want to look nice for church. And boy do you look nice. Next time can you work on being on time?)

4. Stop pride in its tracks ­– apologize. Swallow the rising defensiveness and just ask for their forgiveness. Saying we are sorry often stops a fight from developing.

5. Keep a sense of humor. Laughter dissipates frustration and anger.

Hubby will sometimes sing a “Hallelujah” or two from Handel’s Messiah when I get in the car after he has been waiting, which usually gets us laughing. It communicates his point in a playful manner and also drops the matter.

6. Learn from the experience and focus on the future. This is not the time to relive the past, shame and blame, accuse, punish, or silently berate yourself with negative self-talk. Stop and jump off the shame and blame merry-go-round. It does no one any good. You can’t change the past. So, focus on the future. What will you do next time? Ask went wrong this time? Make a plan. Identify something you can do next time. It helps when we replay the situation in your mind, this time choosing to do the right thing.

7. Remember life is a journey – two steps forward and one back. Give yourself grace. Give them grace. Change happens slowly for them and you(baby steps), and not without reverting backwards. This is why we must set reasonable goals. We can’t say I will never be late again and strive for that goal, because we will fail and be late again.

8. Celebrate your effort – not just your success. Because you will fail, and often, celebrate your effort. Did you start getting ready 10 minutes earlier than normal, but were still late? Well, then at least pat yourself on the back for making progress in the right direction and making an effort to change your habit of being late. Then try again. And again.

9. Remember your identity. So, you made a mistake. Sinned. Failed. Made a bad decision. None of these affect your worth. Make you a bad person. Cause you to be a failure. You are still loved and called Beloved by your heavenly father. You are even loved by those around you. Friends and family do not love you because you are perfect, no, they love you because of who you are, imperfections and all.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others. First, you don’t know the whole story. Second, everyone’s journey and struggles are different. (Comparing yourself to others is often jumping back on the shame and blame or beat yourself up merry-go-round. Or else the I-am-better merry-go-round of pride.)

11. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress, and then extend that permission to those around you. Treat them the way you want to be treated; treat yourself as you would treat a good friend. (Notice I said “good friend” because we can be so harsh with ourselves. Harsher than anyone else is to us.)

12. Let it Go. Don’t hang on to anger. Don’t bring it up again and again. Don’t dwell on it in a negative fashion. Give it to God and move on.

 

Coping with failure.  Remember what’s important. 

 

Always grace to self. Grace to others. God’s grace showering down and freely given round.

No accusing, blaming, shaming. No negative self-talk. No punishing. These don’t change us or others for the better.

What changes us, and others, is grace, love, and forgiveness. Freely given gifts from God which we pass on to others.

You are a work-in-progress and on a journey that will never reach perfection in this lifetime.

Let yourself be a work in progress. God does.

Let others be a work in progress. God does.

Extend grace. Repent. Forgive. Move forward.

Repeat for a lifetime.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How are you letting yourself fail with grace? 

May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).