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

 


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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.

 

Free Sometimes Really Means Free

 

Repeatedly the company calls. I have been selected to win this absolutely free, three-day cruise. I roll my eyes, make some sarcastic remark, and hang up. Just before the voice tells me to push a button and claim my free-gift.

Momma was right. “If it sounds too good to be true; it is.”

Yup, they just happened to call me (out of the all the other millions of people) to offer me a trip to some exotic place. Three days on a boat. Free.

Each time they call, I hung up and start laughing. Free? Sure?

This offer seemed way to good. There had to be a catch.

 

Free often doesn’t really mean free. 

 

We hadn’t been married long, when we headed to the beach for a free night at a resort. After a pleasant 3-hour trip, we were checking in; being handed keys, told about the pool, restaurant, exercise room and more. Oh, and our appointment the next afternoon with some nice sounding person to discuss our stay.

Yes, little did we know our short chat would turn into a two-hour high-pressured sales presentation where we were presented with the opportunity to buy a yearly stay at the resort. Our first introduction to a time share. We didn’t budge or cave in, and left with our wallet not drained, but we were wrung out and lifeless from our fight to say no.

Ever since that life-sucking experience, I know that there is no free stay or cruise. (Even if we did return with a free knife. It would have been a free TV if we had only said yes!)

I mentioned the free cruise calls to my sister, and guess what? She had been getting offered a free three-day cruise too.

One day she decided to have some fun with the customer service person and figure out how much this free cruise would really cost a person. Turns out there were port fees. Boat fees. And other fees.

“So, what was the bottom line cost for this free three-day cruise?” I asked.

She laughed. “Well, this free cruise was going to cost $800 to $1000.”

“That’s so free,” I laughed.

Free often has strings attached.

 

It was no surprise. Because it seems in life, few things are really free.

Free, as in they don’t cost you something.

You may get a set of free stake knives, but you had to buy the exercise equipment first. You may get a free CD, but you had to buy a twenty-three set first. That coffee may be free, but only after you bought the 12 previous cups.

Yes, we get cynical and laugh at anything free. Life shows us at an early age most things are not free.

We want to visit our classmate, but mom says we have to clean our room and the chicken pen fist. We get a gift from a schoolmate, but now they expect us to eat lunch with them. We can get a free super-duper bow and arrow, but we first have to sell 100 rolls of gift wrap. We earn good grades in school, but are now expected to earn more.

Free? Nothing seems free.

And we buy into this attitude.

We doubt that others do things for free. Without wanting something in return.

Someone invites us over for dinner, we feel indebted until we have them over. Our kids get a ride to the game, we feel we owe something back. Our mate surprises us with a splendid night out, we feel we need to return the favor. We go to a free lecture, but feel obligated to buy a self-help program.

But others are not the only ones expecting things in return.

We  also expect things back. Payment of some kind. 

We take our kids out to the playground, and we expect them to be good the rest of the day. We babysit for a friend, and then feel we can ask them to reciprocate in the future. We make a special dinner with candles and a lone flower, and we expect people to appreciate it, to even say thank you.

We often want something in return for our efforts, even if it is praise, appreciation, acknowledgement, or a thank you.  

I am not saying that we should not acknowledge and appreciate and thank people. No, we should. It is part of treating them the way we want to be treated. It is being thankful.

Sometimes we do something for someone, our family, or kids, and get a little bit tweaked out of shape when what we do was not acknowledged, appreciated, or mentioned. We can get resentful or upset because our free-gift was not really given without strings attached. The fine print, which they fail to read, really said, “Not really totally and completely free. Something expected in return.”

Somethings, though, free things in life are really free. No strings attached.

 

We don’t expect totally free things, nor do we often don’t give totally free things.

And yet there is someone who gives good gifts that are totally free. No strings attached.

Seriously! No laughing now.

Have you ever paid for a sunrise? A sunset? The rain? Watching a bird in your backyard? The view of the mountains? A walk on the beach? A breath of air? A breeze? The shade of a tree?

Nature surrounds us, and it is free. Beauty surrounds us, and it is free.

Did you pay for your personality? Strengths? Intellect? Talents and gifts? Your smile? 

God surrounds us all with his good gifts. His daily and nightly gifts. Free to all.

He offers us the free gift of salvation, where we receive a new heart and have our sins cancelled. No cost here, all free. No self-improvement, no shower or clean clothes, no weight loss, no repayment plan, no perfection required or owed. A come as you are gift. No strings attached. We just receive.

He offers us so many free gifts if we just come and spend some time with him. Good things. Valuable things. Peace, joy, wisdom, love, patience, rest, hope, direction, laughter, a new heart, grace and more grace, and eternal life.

He gives these things freely. But we need to stop doubting. Wondering if they are really free. Quit looking for strings attached. Quit expecting this is a timeshare or sales presentation. Because it is not.

Our job is to quit doubting. Quit trying to earn. Quit trying to avoid taking the gift until we have payment ready.

Because when God says free. There is no fine print.

Acknowledge him and his free gifts and his friendship he offers.

Sounds to simple, doesn’t it? Sounds to good to be true? Well we can trust him.

And when we do, we don’t feel so bad about giving truly free gifts with no strings attached to those around us. Not when we think of all the free gifts we have been given.

Try it. Receive from him, and then give back to others.

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 free gifts have you enjoyed?  

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

Relearning the Same Thing, Again

Sometimes it seems as if my life is on replay. Or maybe that it is punctuated with Deja-vu moments.

We were driving across Indiana when it began happening. My son was shivering and not feeling well. Basically miserable, he was, and I was trying to comfort him. Encourage him that this too shall pass. When it did pass. Up from his stomach and out onto his father’s coat that was lying across his body, the back seat, floor, and my shoes.

Ugg.

But the thing was, I was taken by surprise. Totally by surprise.

Somehow, I had missed the warning signs. Warning signs that have repeated themselves more times then I care to count or remember.

This scenario has replayed itself out on car rides numerous times. From the time he was a toddler to now.

I look at him, taller than me these last few months, and I am still surprised at the outcome. And yet all the signs were pointing towards this outcome. This culminating stomach upheaval. Once again, I had misread the signs. Not learned from experience.

This boy is so like me that I can not fault him. For I was known in my family for a stomach that liked to empty its contents. I did in the car. Across the bedroom floor. Outside the door of a motel (you should have seen the look the owner gave me. I remember thinking she should have been counting her blessings because it is easier to clean a flower bed than a motel floor.). Beside the roadside. In a cow pasture. In the middle of a mall parking lot. At a title company. In the shower. At school. And occasionally in bathrooms.

We are a pair of soft stomachs. Him and I.

We are driving again after cleaning the mess up, and he is lying on my lap, and I am looking out the window wondering how many times is life about relearning something. Relearning the same thing we did earlier. Maybe the circumstances and players are different, but the lesson is basically the same. Though sometimes there may be some new awareness or twist.

How many times have you learned the same lessons?

 

If you are like me, you are forgetful. Eager to lean and move on to the next thing. Not wanting to waste time on the same old thing. Wanting to cross it off your list as mastered and move to conquering the next big life changing thing.

How many times have I relearned that patience is not a virtue I have yet mastered? Been reminded that hate hurts me more than others? Remembered that God loves me plain and simple; not for what I do or because I conquered my day, but because of whose I am? Been surprised about how much my husband and kids love me? Relearned the pain of heartache? Had to remind myself that God is in charge? Seen how people are willing to help others?

How many times have I learned that a 30-minute dinner takes at least 60 minutes. That it takes longer than an hour to wash and dry a load of clothes. That driving across town takes more than 15 minutes, even if all the lights are green. That kindness motivates people more than guilt. That I can’t leave the library without gathering a stack of books. That baths are never as relaxing as I think they will be. That friends make life such a blessing. That getting outside clears my head in a way nothing else does. That laughing is a great stress releaser and perspective changer.

It seems my life is learning and then relearning at regular intervals the same things over and over. Again and again, and then once more. Sometimes the lessons are small, like my feet are still the same size. Not enough sleep makes me crabby. Most people respect your no. Winter is much colder than I remember. And the same song can make you smile each time you hear it.

Sometimes the lessons are bigger, like perfectionism steals your joy. Sharing and being vulnerable heals you and others. That God is bigger than our problems. That living now and here is a blessing. That people usually do the same thing over and over no matter how much I think they should change. That I can only change myself. That forgiveness does not mean letting others take advantage of you.

Round and around I go, like a merry-go-round. Passing the same real-estate and encountering different scenarios where the lessons look vaguely familiar.

Ah-ha, I think, and then stumble on with life, convinced I have finally learned that lesson, when whack, later I relearn it again.

 

Remembering what’s important. 

 

This is part of learning. Part of living. Part of being human. Part of growing.

It’s called giving yourself grace.

It’s called repetition is necessary for our soul.

It’s called learning from your experiences.

it’s called relearning the same thing multiple times but in different ways.

It’s called learning something until you really believe it.

It’s called shaking your heard and laughing at yourself. Knowing you will once again find yourself in the same real-estate somewhere again down the road of life.

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 Journey: What are you relearning?

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