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Choosing not to be too proud.

Choosing not to be too proudImagine a young child learning to walk.

They fall over repeatedly, but choose to get up again and have another shot. Just imagine now if instead, their reaction was – this is too hard, I am failing too often, never going to get the hang of this, too humiliating to be failing constantly in front of all these people. I’m too proud to keep getting this wrong. I’ll give this walking lark a miss and stick with crawling. Imagine the impact on the human race. Now of course this is a ludicrous scenario (although given how fast our younger child could bum-shuffle about, it’s a wonder that she ever bothered with walking at all).

But the point is a clear one – if we give up the first time we make a mistake because we are too proud to admit we got it wrong, we will get absolutely nowhere in life.

Now this seems to fly in the face of what I was talking about last week, about making the choice to commit to something rather than taking the on-the-fence option of saying, I’ll try.

When the context for trying is something new and uncertain that we are learning, then the choice here is not being too proud to keep trying when we get it wrong.

When we repeatedly try and fail at something, if we choose not to be too proud, there is scope to learn and grow character and maturity. Choosing not to be too proud means we can enlist the help of others, rather than being too self-reliant. That also takes bravery and vulnerability, but opens the way for mutual support, and the opportunity to value and affirm the helper in their helping.

But for me, the choosing not to be too proud is more related to that answer of “I’ll try” in response to a request. What is going on there?

To not be too proud to say:

No, I am sorry I can’t do that”

– to acknowledge that as a human being I have finite resources and simply can’t do everything.

For a long time, I have been quite heavily invested in being a high-energy, can-do, hold-it-all-together sort of person. Capable, competent, organised, efficient, independent. And sometimes, if I am honest, I can come across as intimidating, exhausting, over bearing.

People might well want to offer to help in a certain situation, but without even a chink of vulnerability or human frailty in my seeming ability to get-things-done, why would they?

Choosing not to be too proud can be about saying,

I can’t do it all. I need help. I am frail, weak, human and I don’t have unlimited resources.

It can be about acknowledging that our way of doing something might not be the only way, or the best way. It might involve surrendering some control and allowing others in, and that might get messy.

When we are motivated by trying to help everyone around us and meet all the needs that come our way, sometimes deep down inside there is a pride in that – our identity is tied to our ability to meet the needs of others, and if we weren’t able to do this, who would that make us?

Perhaps, our identity is tied to being competent and strong, and there is pride in not showing any sign of weakness or vulnerability.

Don’t be too proud to say, I can’t do it all. I have limited resources.

Don’t be too proud to say, I got it wrong, can you help me or be patient while I try again?

Don’t be too proud to say, I have needs too.

Choosing not to be too proud – where would some honest reflection on that question take you?

Inspired? Encouraged? Get in touch!

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