Beware the Other Heart Disease
Pride goes before destruction in the same way that heart disease goes before a heart attack.
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 (NRSV)
Pride blocks the flow of life, learning, and flourishing in the same way that plaque builds up in the arteries and restricts the flow of blood.
Like plaque, pride builds up over time. It’s a slow process, with each proud belief and judgement sticking together and narrowing the artery.
As pride builds up in the pathways of your life, it begins blocking nutrients. You become unable to learn, to receive, or to change — except for in small doses or through the specific arteries that aren’t yet blocked.
Ignorant of the fact that your arteries are filling with plaque, you just experience the feeling that you don’t need help — or at least that you only need things through certain arteries (read: through certain people, cultures, subjects, etc.).
So, what happens when pride builds up too much?
Or, in Cardiovascular Disease, a heart attack.
Yeah, not good.
The thing is, we almost never notice when plaque is forming in our arteries. Which is why, to address pride, it’s best to consume regular doses of humility.
Humility is a type of food that is rich in anti-inflammatory, pride-busting nutrients. There are many ways to consume humility, but try this one first:
Assume the best
- Assume that ALL the people around you have something to teach you.
- Assume that all of your ideas and thoughts, even the best ones, are incomplete, possibly wrong, and that the people around you, especially those you least expect, can help you.
- Assume that the places where you need the most help are the places where you are the most sure of yourself.
Pride is experienced as the feeling that you know better. Along with this comes the side effect called, judgement.
Judgement can become rampant, leaving us with a continual perspective of criticism and mistrust toward those around us. And, the thing is, it always makes perfect sense to us.
The ironic thing about pride and the feeling that you know is that, like Heart Disease, it may actually make you less smart. The filling of your arteries with plaque decreases the blood flow to the brain, thus, slowing it down and even causing the grey matter in your brain to deteriorate .
Pride tricks your brain into thinking that you already know something that you do not, in fact, yet know — blocking you from ever learning it.
This is especially true when we equate knowing something with simply remembering information about it. Many of us know things that we’re actually completely and utterly ignorant of.
If you don’t live it, you don’t truly know it or believe it.
If you ignore pride, if assume you don’t have it, or if you laugh it off — it will kill you. While it’s slowly killing you through the accumulation of plaque, it will distract you, convincing you that you are more right and more good than the people around you.
On the other side of pride, you will realize that all of your rightness was wrong and it was simply the symptom of a disease.
Spit out the hubris and eat some humility — you’ll be smarter, healthier, and you’ll live longer.
This is my daily project where I write about diverse ideas.
This is Dose #38.