How I Destroyed The Silent Killer Of My Happiness.
We all take pride in many aspects of our lives, but is our pride making us happier? I used to believe that strong pride was a good thing. But over time, I learned that there can be both positive and negative types of pride. This article will cover the negative aspects of pride, and the remedies for it.
Before I get into it, I would like to give you the definition of pride according to google.
PRIDE: A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
For for many years as a professional golfer, I took great pride in how I played. I would think, “look at how good I am” or “look at who I beat”. I took so much pride in being better than people, that being the best became my purpose for life.
This type of pride hurt me in 5 ways:
1. It became very hard to handle criticism. If someone questioned my abilities as a golfer, it would really bother me. I would think, “how dare they question my talent!”
2. I struggled to take advice. This was because someone giving me advice lead me to believe, “they don’t think I know what I’m doing.” Which was a threat to my identity. This perceived threat would make me defensive, and unable to learn.
3. My pride led to severe jealousy of my peers. If one of my peers played better than me I would often feel envious.
4. If I was in a group of people that were praising someone else, I would often get angry that they weren’t praising me.
5. My pride also made me a pretty shitty person to be around if I wasn’t playing well. This was because I felt as though I was failing at life if I wasn’t performing at a high level.
Once I learned how to reduce my pride, 4 things happened.
1. My performance improved dramatically. This improvement was due to to less pressure to succeed, and an increased willingness to take, and seek advice.
2. I started to enjoy the game regardless of how I played. I was happier because my identity became less attached to my performance.
3. I became much happier, and more pleasant to be around off the course, regardless of how I was playing.
4. I started to feel happy for my peers when they played well. This alone, led me to a better peace of mind. It feels good to truly be happy for others’ achievements.
While diminishing pride can be very helpful, it can be tricky at times. This challenge arises because we take pride in so many different aspects of our lives. It takes self-reflection to figure out what we are prideful in. An effective way to determine what we take pride in is to ask ourselves, “what makes me who I am?” What we refer to when answering this question often reveals what we take pride in. I would always identify myself as a good golfer. Identifying myself as this put a ton of pressure on me to then be a good golfer.
If you find your pride being very detrimental to your peace of mind, daily contemplation on this analysis can help rid of it.
DICLAIMER: THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH MAY BE CONFUSING AT FIRST, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND.
· UNIVERSAL LAW: We live in a world that is ruled by cause and effect. There can be no effect without a cause, and every effect becomes a cause for another effect. No cause lasts. The moment a cause arises it immediately becomes an effect, which immediately becomes another cause. We are who we are in a given moment because of cause and effect. This continuing process is why we are always changing.
Contemplating the causes of a flower.
- While a flower seems to stand on its own, independent of what made it a flower, it needs much help to become a flower. There needs to be a seed with the potential to become that flower. That seed needs the proper amount of water, sunlight, fertile soil, and the right climate to sprout. Without these causes a seed can never become a flower. Reflecting on this, enables us to see that a flower is a product of causes and conditions.
- Like the flower, our accomplishments are products of causes and conditions. Many of these causes we are unaware of, and had no part in. When we see this, it is obvious that our accomplishments are not just our own doing. The causes and conditions that have influenced our lives, play a big role in our accomplishments. Knowing this, it is irrational to take such strong credit for the things we accomplish. Taking so much credit is like giving a canvas to a painter, and taking full credit for his painting. If you feel proud, resist the urge to praise yourself, and cultivate gratitude for the causes that made you the person you are in that moment. By doing this we keep the strong prideful sense of “I” subdued.
Contemplate the fact that we are always changing as people.
- I may say “I am a good golfer”. But, am I always a good golfer? When I asked myself this question, the answer was a resounding no. I was sometimes average, sometimes good, sometimes great, and sometimes horrible. This change occurs because performance is based on causes and conditions, which are always changing. For example, the seed growing requires many factors as we have seen. One of the key factors necessary for the seed to grow, is the weather. When the weather is unfavorable the seed cannot grow, but when it is favorable it will grow. The causes that enable us to be a certain way are like the weather, always changing.
Taking so much pride in things can lead to many negative emotions. We should be very strategic with what we take pride in, and how much pride we take in it.
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Until next time, I wish you well. :)