We’ve all heard the quote ‘Pride goes before a fall” before. The religious context isn’t a matter here. What I was wondering is why there isn’t a quote about how if you didn’t have that pride in the first place, you wouldn’t have fallen. Pride has been said to be tied to nationalism, individualism, patriotism, etc. Ideas that give you the warm and fuzzies. But in my opinion, I don’t think that’s the case at all. Coming from a high school perspective, where the tumultuous and vicious emotions are tearing inside teenagers, pride is like your shadow, brushing a feathery hand of influence on your actions. How many relationships have fallen due to misconstrued pride? When somebody suspects that their loved one has betrayed them, half the time (especially for us teens) the reason for our hurt isn’t necessarily that we were let down by someone we trusted. It’s that our pride was wounded. Our pride in the thought that we had firmly controlled that aspect of our relationship and surely, the other person wasn’t about to damage it. When two boys square off in a fist fight, or two girls back-stab a former friend, why is it? What would cause people who were once so close to turn on each other like wild animals?
It’s a carnal, primitive part of ourselves we cannot escape. Of course there are instances when pride is good, for example if you are advocating a cause you believe in, and your pride won’t let you back down even when all the cards are stacked against you. But the reality of the situation is that pride is almost always harmful. I have an example to validate my claim. I have a friend, let’s call her Denise. Denise, for the past year, has fallen prey to the peer pressure of drugs. Her grades have taken a dive, she can barely get dressed in the morning, and she’s been absorbed into a crowd that will someday be occupying the grounds of a federal prison. Denis won’t accept advice, and she will not admit that she has a drug addiction.
“I know it’s wrong, but it’s only for a little while. I’m young! I can stop whenever I want, Vera, okay?” she said when I confronted her. Just last night, she was admitted into the ER after a car accident that killed two of the ‘crowd’. She was spared, but she’ll never be the same again.
Why didn’t Denis go to her parents and ask for help? Why didn’t she talk to her friends, her teachers, counselors, a support group? Was it because she didn’t want to stop? I think that she wanted to stop. I think she wished for her old life more than we can ever imagine, but she didn’t think she had a hope of getting it back after all that she had done. Her pride stopped her from seeking aid, her pride made her wave away advice, and her pride nearly cost her her life.
We all use different words for it. When we don’t want to go apologize to a friend, “Oh, it was her/his fault. He should come to me. ” And thus a friendship is lost to the jaws a pride.
“I didn’t do so well on that test because I didn’t study. I could have done even better than you if I’d bothered.”
“I can’t tell anyone about this. If they find out that I’ve been (insert shameful deed) they’ll lose all respect for me. I can’t have them look at me like that.”
I suffer from the claims of pride too. But I have a picture in my head. I have the power in my own two hands to make my family closer. I can take time from watching TV to play with my little sister instead of deeming her childish and embarrassing. I can remember that my schoolwork and studies are going to pay off that day when I anxiously wait by the mailbox for the acceptance letter from my dream school. I know apologizing to a friend that upset me will make her/ him understand that while I can be upset, I can just as easily forgive.
Will I have the willpower to make this picture reality? I don’t know. We all have pictures in our heads that we want our lives to be like. If you want to share with other’s your picture and your difficulties in achieving it, let me know. Pride has been humanities banana peel on the ground since the beginning of time. It’s about damn time we all stopped slipping.