Pride: -noun 1. a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. (from dictionary.com ~ thanks Christina!)
In a previous post, I wrote about effective marriage advice I once heard ~ the value of leaving things unsaid. My own nature tends to lean heavily towards NEVER leaving things unsaid. While sometimes that can be a good thing ~ say, when the comments are positive ~ when remarks fall in the “told you so” genre it cuts deeply.
I heard a marriage counselor one time say, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” Being “right” rarely serves the relationship, and as my friend Anne pointed out, “If it’s REALLY about being right, you’d keep your mouth shut.” By the time we’ve reached the “told you so” point, we’re usually talking about pride ~ that “inordinate opinion of one’s own superiority.” Ouch.
“Mr. Owens, you would be doing Lily and the rest of us a favor by leaving her here.”
I’d heard August say more than once, “If you need something from somebody, always give that person a way to hand it to you.” T. Ray needed a face-saving way to hand me over, and August was giving it to him.
~ The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
When you want to get something accomplished, sometimes you just need to give the other person room to give it to you. I have watched this dynamic play out in my parents’ 55-year marriage. Like many men of his generation, my dad is accustomed to being “in charge.” He likes to steer the ship. Through the years, I have often watched my mother make suggestions only to be met by his knee-jerk “that will never work” reaction. But a day or two will pass and Daddy will say, “Hey Barb, I was thinking, it might be a good idea if …” and then practically repeat back her idea VERBATIM. And Mom will respond, “Oh that’s a good thought, Bob!”
Now if that was me, I’d have to say, “HELLO??? That’s what I said like, 3 days ago! Thank you very much!” I would simply not be content until he had admitted that yes, indeed, it was MY idea. One day, Mother and I were talking about this particular interplay. Didn’t she find it completely irritating that he was ‘that’ way and PLEASE, why didn’t she point this out to him? She replied nonchalantly, “What difference does it make?”
My brain went TILT. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Mom would plant the seed and then give it room. Daddy would mull it over, perhaps even modify it slightly, and offer it up as his idea. Ultimately, everybody got what they wanted.
When you want something from somebody, always give that person a way to hand it to you. After all, do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?