“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” ~Emily Brontë
Being raised in a society where it’s taboo to seek help outside the home, or outside the family circle has made life challenges all the more arduous; you might say I was raised steeped in pride. Not that of conceited pleasure and satisfaction in my achievements or admired qualities. No! It was the pride of being conscious of my own dignity, after all, there’s no dignity in charity; you make your own way, make do with what you have, however destitute, because…..”By the sweat of your brow, you shall eat bread.” Yes! This how we lived, we lived in pridefulness, we suffered in silence, condemned in our own ignorance of need, and not having the courage to ask for a handout or a hand-up!
This conditioning stayed with me well into adulthood, becoming even more imprinted as I discovered some time ago the harsh reality that family will betray you. That a hand-out isn’t always a hand-up. There are people in that world who have no regards for the old adage of “not letting your left hand know, what your right hand is doing.” That sometimes a gift of giving was not for rewards of blessings, it was merely for the reward of praise, self-gratification, and favours. It is then that I let my pride grow, not in a conceited or narcissistic way……No! It festered into stubbornness, and like a wound so great it consumed me, not with hate, but with even more pride as my chest blossomed in it. Threatening to erupt indisposition. *Sigh! Yet I stood firm in my beliefs, prejudice against my own heart. The heart knows what the body needs, but it’s up to us to listen and feed its curiosity.
And as my pridefulness grew, my world got smaller. My inner circle became a trusted few. After all, with pride comes lack of trust in others. A knife is always looking for an innocent heart to pierce and why lay down as a sheep to slaughter…….After all, I have my dignity, my graceful pride! But Life is twisted, unwavering in its intent, as it can also sometimes betray the proudful heart, it despises it and crushes it into submission, bringing you to your knees. This has never been so prevalent as in the past few months when those hot potatoes were flying. God knows I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready to relinquish my pride, it was all I had left. It was the foundation of my existence, the epitome of my upbringing. Why should I bow to life and its challenges? Me? I’m a strong black woman…….Independent in thought and execution. I will NOT yield!!
But in the midst of the madness, there were people who understood my harsh reality, who ignored my proudfulness. They say life gives us what we need, when we need it; and it did, it gave sisters who were genuine in their friendship and sincere in their giving. They gave not because they had too much, but because they knew what it was not to have, they gave to increase their blessings rather than for self gratification- they were planting their seeds. No better way I’d like to be used than to help others increase their greatness. You see, in holding on to my pride, I was preventing those around me from receiving their blessings. My dignity over shadowed plain old common sense, and kept the angels at bay.
Through it all I’ve learned that……
- You cannot continue to judge people by what you’ve experienced in the past.
- Heaven and Hell exists here and now.
- Money is NOT the root of evil, fear is.
- Never be too proud to ask for help. There can only be one out of two responses…….Yes or No!
- Everything tends to work out the way it’s suppose to.
- The older we get, the harder it is to give up old habits. Change while you’re young, it doesn’t make life easier, but it makes the ride less harsh.
- Resistance to change is like resistance to chocolate………..It’s futile.
- The seeds planted today, will indeed be the tree that gives you shade tomorrow. What you send out, comes back to you!
© Etta D. Richards